Crimson Tide, Fighting Irish, Green Wave, Orange, and Longhorns…what do they have in common, other than the fact that the first 4 (all except the Longhorns) are part of an answer to one of the great collegiate trivia questions -- How many collegiate teams can you name that have nicknames NOT ending with the letter ‘S’? There are actually 13, but nope, that’s not it!
Instead, these 5 great institutions with storied traditions - Alabama, Notre Dame, Tulane, Syracuse and Texas - today, became part of one of Skylemar’s oldest traditions, Intercollegiate Day.
The boys had been divided up among the 5 universities a few days ago, and until today, had only met to rehearse their teams’ songs and cheers (more on that to come). These 5 schools were chosen by each team’s counselor leaders to compete in a day filled with athletic events and a special regatta down at Trickey, and a night filled with Songs and Cheers to determine the overall IC Day winner. The boys competed in the same 7 “classes” (this is school, you know) as usual (Cubs, Tigers, Freshmen, Sophomores, Juniors, Seniors and Stars), and all would participate in the same 6 events, too, each division rotating from one venue to the other throughout the day. Some of the traditional events have been tweaked a bit by mastermind IC Day Director Nick Shep, who somehow found a way to enhance this annual competition into the most fun-filled, spirited IC Day ever!
And here’s how it went…
After breakfast and morning bunk inspection, a spectacular Maine day greeted the participants as all teams headed to the Snow Field for the official opening of this, our 73rd edition… and the Dash, one of the most celebrated of all IC day events. Nick Shep set the scene and called the runners to the starting blocks. One sprinter per class for each team gave it all he had in a true test of straight speed, resulting in seven of the best races seen in years. After Max P (B6) pulled away in the Cubs race to win for Syracuse, teammates Roman (Freshmen, B11) and Eddie (Sophomores, B17)) won their class races as well. Grant (B25) won the Seniors for Texas, but a trio of ND Fighting Irish claimed the other 3 races – Jordan H (Tigers, B9) and Tosh (Juniors, B22) won tight races, then all watched Stars veteran DMar prove that he’s “the fastest man in camp”.
The boys then dispersed to compete in the 6 athletic events, moving from one contest to the next, by class, all over camp throughout the rest of the day (with a break for lunch, and of course, more songs and cheers practice). Gaga created as much noise as any with both pits in use. Each game began with all of the teams’ class participants inside the Octagon, in a 5-team round robin format, to determine the winner. A combination of Newcomb/Spike Ball for the younger classes, and Volleyball for the Upperclassmen, gave us the most competitive fun in the sand all summer. Down on the Snow Field, the older guys “survived” the intensity of a game they assumed they had long outgrown, but the Underclassmen still showed that STB belongs to them, as every game was decided by a single point. So exciting!
Buoyball, a Skylemar legendary creation (think baseball with a buoy (bat) and tennis ball), has been played here for years – but not with a kickball! Both the Middle Diamond and the Freddie Pierce had games going all day, and the kids showed an amazing affinity for hitting and fielding an oversized ball (again round-robin style to determine order of finish (1st to 5th). At Blacktop Hoops on both basketball courts, each class competed tourney-style, with 3v3, 4v4, and 5v5 games at all levels. The Juniors provided the most exciting Hoops contest of the day, when the very close, half-court 3v3 contest became engulfed with supporters, surrounded by most of the teams who had finished their morning activities. The last bucket was hard to come by, but when Sam M drove the baseline and scored to win it for Notre Dame, he was mobbed by the Irish faithful…quite a scene with Color War intensity! The most non-stop action, though, had to be Lightning, a fast-paced soccer “knock-out” style game that kept everyone involved, even after apparent elimination (but with a chance for reinstatement on every shot taken or save made) - a revolving motion of passing, shooting, and goalie play.
Another special addition to the program began yesterday, when each team’s Stars participants were tasked with constructing a boat made of only cardboard and duct tape for the IC Day Cardboard Boat Race. The boats were completed in just a few hours, then were blindly put to the test today, just after Rest hour, before the afternoon activities began. The entire camp watched as the 5 boats made a valiant attempt to cross the ‘A’, but only Eli (B26) and his Green Wave vessel was successful for Tulane – entertaining the 200+ delighted onlookers.
With the daytime activities complete, all attention turned toward the evening closing event – Songs and Cheers. Actually, this IC Day finale began long before the actual performance itself, as each team’s counselor leaders have been writing and preparing their set of 5 songs (Team cheer, Camp cheer, Team Fight song, Old Camp song, and Original Camp song) into the wee hours for days to get ready - all for the purpose of putting on that one best performance that might carry their team to victory.
And what a wonderful night it was. Under the light of a starry night, the spirit of Skylemar came shining through. The Team Fight songs and both cheers (Team and Camp) were energetic and lively, the Original Camp songs creative and heartfelt, and the Old Camp songs poured out with a pride several generations strong. Several “collegians” performed as soloists/duets/trios/quartets amongst the 5 presentations – with teammates, bunkmates, counselors, and brothers locked arm-in-arm. Necks strained and voices cracked, but somehow this was still the greatest show on earth! The toughest job of the day was bestowed on judges Nurse Julie, Blake and Adam Shep who huddled backstage after with the task of deciding this one...until a few moments later when they handed Nick Shep their decision. The crowd became silent as Nick thanked everyone for an amazing day – and proclaimed the 2021 IC Day winner…Syracuse University!