A pulsating Blue and White mob descended the steps of Main Building early Saturday afternoon, Nov. 13, chanting “Let’s Go, Hotchkiss.” The turbocharged gathering marked the official start of Taft Day when Bearcat spirit reached a fever pitch. Students dressed head-to-toe in blue and white gear with some in the crowd sporting painted paw prints on their cheeks and others completely covered with body paint. With the Hotchkiss flag held high, the brigade paraded down to the playing fields to cheer on the Bearcats. View a gallery of photos from Taft Day here.
The most anticipated athletic matchup of the fall season has been a tradition since 1980, when the rivalry between the School and Taft was elevated and the event was founded.
This year, Taft Day was especially meaningful because the competition had not been held since 2019 due to COVID. It was Hotchkiss's turn to host the event, and the School pulled out all the stops providing hungry fans with a variety of food stands featuring hot cider, doughnuts, bratwurst sandwiches, turkey legs, popcorn, and more.
“The campus is electric,” said Charlotte Moody ’23 the morning of the big day. “Everyone is so excited about the return of Taft and being able to play competitive sports again.”
For Margie Bowen ’22, Taft Day marks a culmination of Spirit Week. In the days leading up to the games, Bowen and other members of Blue and White pump up school spirit in a variety of activities, from dressing each day according to a theme, to posting psych cards along the hallways and hanging blue and white streamers from the ceiling in Main Building, to holding a campus-wide pep rally and bonfire.
“There has been so much school spirit that’s been saved up over the last two years that everyone is just really excited for today,” Bowen said.
Nate Brockington ’22, head of the Blue and White, the School's spirit society, was tasked with helping preps and lower mids learn about Taft Day activities and building spirit. “It was challenging,” he said. “But throughout the week, I have seen some of the best energy since I have been here in my four years. And today, everyone is just super-psyched. Go, blue!”
Out on the playing fields and in the MAC, students and alumni from both schools turned out in full force to cheer on their teams. Although the day began with sunny skies, by late afternoon a downpour led to the cancellation of several games. At the end of the day, Hotchkiss prevailed with the most victories, winning the Hotchkiss-Taft competition by a score of 6 to 5. But for many Bearcats, the day wasn’t all about winning; It was about reconnecting with classmates and a much-beloved School tradition.
Look for a recap of the games at https://www.hotchkiss.org/athletics/news