Experience As Gym Night Captain

All of the red captains huddling before the gym night event began

Andy Nguyen, Managing Editor

I was sitting in my eighth period class. My palms were sweating, heart pounding, and hands shaking. Once I heard the P.A. system come on to begin the afternoon announcements, my feelings of anxiety grew. All I could do was put my head down. My heart went from pounding to racing when I heard Mr. Mags say, “now onto the senior boys.”

My head instantly shot up. As a part of Generation Z, of course my first instinct was to pull out my phone and record in the case that I heard my name on the announcements. Within the next 20 seconds, my life would turn upside down.

After an endless weekend of sweaty palms and a churning stomach, all the Instagram and Snapchat posts would finally redeem themselves. Over the announcements, the entirety of Neshaminy High School heard my name. As I jumped in rejoice over winning captain, my heart flew quite literally from my stomach to my head. Little did I know the commitment I was making.

Looking back on the experience, I would split it into four stages. The first stage is something many of us know: anxiety. At the very first meeting, I remember being so anxious. Thoughts of doubt rushed through my head as I thought, “Wow, will any of the other captains actually like me?” After all, four out of the six captains had been working with each other for a majority of Gym Night. Shortly after walking in, however, the nervousness had faded; all the meetings from that point were just six people talking about something we loved — Gym Night. From the dances to costumes and props, I could tell that each of my five captains were genuinely dedicated, and that we were ready to spearhead the challenge that is being a captain.

Even though practices didn’t start, there were still plenty of quote-unquote meetings; I say quote-unquote because they never felt like a formal meeting. It felt like a group of friends talking about our plans for one of the biggest events in our school district. The amount of meetings was plentiful, and everyday felt like a loop of waking up, going to school, going to a meeting, and then going home to do homework. The meetings were always fun, but time consuming.

The second stage is pretty relaxed, at least as relaxed as a commitment like this could get. Following the first few months, the deadlines started to slow down. We slowly got everything we needed including our theme, our music, and many others like clothing and prop designs. One by one all the items slowly began to get checked off the list.

The meetings were still rolling, causing me to choose between missing many assignments or missing a good night’s sleep. This is the stage where music and dance construction begins. The music is pieced together and the dance is slowly made.

The following stage was the best stage to experience. Even though practices seem painful, I have never experienced anything like them. On Jan. 7, we had our last, first practice. This is the beginning of the third stage — practice, practice, practice. I would compare practices to watching your child grow up. As we taught the dances, it went from a small idea that a small group of kids had in someone’s basement to a full on Gym Night dance, but anyone that has been to a practice knows how exhausting it is. The endless talking causes many captains to lose their voice, and trying to get over 200 kids to remember a long dance is frustrating, especially when no one seems to care about Gym Night, and act like they’re only in it for the pictures. It even got to the point where I would drive home bawling from that night’s practice. Sometimes the stress from practices didn’t seem like it was worth it.

At the very end of Feb., the frustration slowly started to melt away, leaving a sense of proudness. The dance began to go from a sloppy mess that no one seemed to care about to a solid, presentable Gym Night dance. It all happened to fall in place during the last practice.

The final stage began the Thurs. of Gym Night when the teams began to come down to show each other their dances. Throughout the halls, you can hear students talking in excitement about finally being able to see what their friends have been working hard on for the past few months. This stage is Gym Night. The dances seemed to magically glue themselves together. The school is hyped up for the biggest weekend of the school year. It’s like a rush of adrenaline takes over your body, leaving you with a constant feeling of anxiety and excitement.

Seeing the dances for the other grades grow and getting to work with the underclassmen was also one of my favorite parts of the experience. By Gym Night, the other captains became my family, and we shared a common goal — to win. I want to thank all the captains this year for making this the best Gym Night of high school — especially the senior captains. I cannot believe I thought you guys were going to hate me, and I’m so proud of everything we accomplished this year. As for the remaining Red Team Captains, I am so jealous that you guys get another year and I cannot wait to see what you guys pull off. Thank you all for making an amazing experience.

To anyone even remotely thinking of running, I 100 percent recommend it without a doubt. It was the best experience of my life. I made so many new friends with people I never thought I would ever be friends with. I learned the importance of teamwork and how strong I actually was, both mentally and physically. I had the best experience of my life and made so many new memories with so many new people that I’m happy to have apart of my life. Ultimately, I only have one thing to say — long live Gym Night.