Wilton strong on a brisk homecoming night

The Wilton Beavers marching band performs during homecoming on Oct. 4. Photo by Tegan Kraklio

By Tegan Kraklio

It was a chipper night, the breath of hundreds leaving them in vapors of smoke, a testament to the cold air. But not a single one of them had a care in the world; the low 50s temperature meant nothing when their presence was required. They had a team to cheer on! It was Oct. 4, and the Wilton Beavers were playing in the Home Conference Varsity game against the Wapello Indians.

We picked our seats and settled in line for concessions, a mash of bodies lining the window where volunteers handed out popcorn, candy and drinks. Some of us wanted something more filling, choosing to buy hotdogs, tenderloin sandwiches or walking tacos instead. With food in hand, we settled in with family and friends as observers in what would be a splendid night.

Homecoming King Patrick Barszczewski led the troops into the tournament as his Queen, Taylor Garvin, stood among the court, resplendent in her sparkling crown. The field was a mess of blue and white as the bodies of young men came into contact again and again.

The players who were not active did not stand idle, but followed their team mates up and down the field. They were intent to watch, as much to spur them on as the cheer leaders did for the rest of us. Smiles painted their pretty faces even when concern bent the brows of onlookers troubled by the opposing members’ recent score. But they would not let us down.

With recited songs and loud cheers they jumped and leapt into the air at impressive heights, all to help us stay positive. With a giant blue megaphone, one led us in the song of victory: “We will fight, fight, fight,” we all cried in unison, “as we go marching to vic-to-ry!”

At half-time the marching band kept us entertained, their new, freshly pressed uniforms making them look fine indeed. Sound blasted from their horns and bellowed from the drums in unison, a triumphant noise. Even if we lost, we were one, and we knew how to have fun. We danced along with the Beaver mascot who sang Blanco Brown’s “The Git Up.” Finally, the second half began.

Announcers called the score and declared the referee’s decision after a flag had been thrown. In the third quarter, we scored a touchdown that took the lead and everyone cheered, blankets dropping to their feet as they jumped up and down, popcorn flying. Then a player on the opposing team was hurt, and we were a little quieter while we waited respectfully for their injury to be addressed. Apparently offended, the Wapello Indians hustled and pressed for their victory, and our ultimate defeat. We lost, 21-14.

Although defeated, our spirit was, and is, unwavering. We were united. We were proud. We were Wilton strong!