Keeping our traditions alive

Published 9:13 am Saturday, October 17, 2009

Pelham High School celebrates Homecoming this week.

“Homecoming is unique at Pelham because it’s more than a football game,” said SGA adviser Keri Ross. “There are activities for everyone during Homecoming week. Each student has the chance to celebrate and have some fun.”

Ross is right.

PHS does have an abundance of Homecoming activity. When Pelham High School opened, the first student body was charged with establishing traditions.

Those students began many proud traditions including float building, a homecoming parade, a bonfire and the annual female football rivalry between the junior and senior girls known as the powder puff game.

Through the years, some of those traditions have been replaced; however, powder puff football remains a part of PHS homecomings.

Bragging rights are still the prize of the victorious team. Support squads that surround the powder puff game have grown more elaborate. Sophomores and juniors now play kickball as a pregame event before the junior-senior main event football game at mid-week.

Coaching staffs are usually all male.

The teams have practices, playbooks, face paint and matching shorts to create full uniforms.

Each grade level may have its own cheer squad and, in the spirit of powder puff, the boys fill these traditionally female roles at PHS.

There is even a male dance line that performs at halftime of the girls’ game — the Mantherettes.

Senior Pantherette Captain Kaylee Perkins choreographed the Mantherette routine this year.

One of the most fascinating aspects of powder puff is the attempt that the female football players make at putting on game faces.

For girls more accustomed to welcoming each other into Juniorette Club meetings with smiles, game faces require concentrated effort, but the girls march in for their game straight-faced and silent — and then they play some serious flag football.

Our actual football coaches become referees and make completely accurate calls.

After the game, many have tried on different roles from the ones they’re actually living out at PHS and the departure from the routine allows for interesting perspective, sore muscles, a bit of appreciation and lots of laughter.

During homecoming week, doors are decorated, a Panther Princess is crowned, karaoke and tailgating fun is enjoyed and the homecoming pep rally takes place.

On Friday night, the homecoming queen is crowned during halftime of a hard-hitting football game — and many former PHS graduates come home to visit.

The week’s festivities culminate with the homecoming dance highlighted by the Senior Leadout featuring the homecoming queen and her court.

By week’s end, everyone’s exhausted, but our PHS homecoming recreation has renewed us for the challenges ahead –– and we’re all reminded of what a special place Pelham High School remains to come home to each year.

Connie Nolen can be reached by e–mail at