The stars are aligning for Haverford to have its most successful EA Day in years: football is undefeated, water polo and soccer are Inter-Ac champs, cross country took fourth at PAISAA, and golf are PAISAA Champs. For many of these teams, EA Day will be the culmination of their season, bringing a conclusion to months of hard work, with the community eagerly waiting to support them from the sidelines.
“[EA Day] is definitely one of the high points of the year. I like to call it a rallying point of the school,” Athletics Director Mr. Michael Murphy said. “We have the start of the school year and things kind of settle in a little, now we have this point that culminates the fall season for most of our teams.”
Dean of Students Mr. Luqman Kolade echoed this sentiment.
“It’s a good rally point for the community,” Mr. Kolade said. “It’s nice to be fully back to normal and be able to do a lot of the stuff that we have not been able to do for the past few years.”
Some of these activities include teacher, student, and family fans returning to watch and cheer on the day’s events, maskless and without most COVID protocols. This return to normalcy raises expectations for fans.
“We are there to support our team, cheer on our guys,” Mr. Murphy said. “There should be no interaction between us and another team, whether that be to their whole team or a singular guy.”
To emphasize this positive form of cheering, the athletic directors of the competing schools are hosting a meeting with student leaders to talk about some of these issues.
“It’s not going to just be athletes. There will be guys from Signet [Society] and other student leader organizations,” Mr. Murphy explained. “We can disseminate this idea that [EA Day] is a great, intense rivalry, but let’s keep it in perspective.”
Head of School Mr. Tyler Casertano is looking forward to this year’s competition and building community support and strength.
I really hope that our community, I mean this in a larger sense, including parents, faculty, and students, realize that this is a great eventMr. Michael murphy
“Last year’s EA Day was one of the year’s highlights for me,” Mr. Casertano said. “In my opinion, this is about us and not them. If we focus on ourselves and the aspects of our community that makes us so strong, everything else will take care of itself.”
This will be Mr. Casertano’s second EA Day as head, and he hopes that the community will continue to be as positive as it was last year.
“As we come together for the largest crowds of the year, we need to remember the lessons that [former Student Body President Mitav Nayak] and the class of 2022 helped teach us,” Mr. Casertano said. “Support is what allowed us to beat EA.”
Mr. Casertano also emphasized this year’s virtue: integrity.
“At the opening speech of the year, I said that while character is who you are when people aren’t watching, it is also who you are when people are watching,” Mr. Casertano said. “EA Day is a moment when a lot of people are watching, and we need to remember this is a visible moment and it’s important for us to help our teams compete by representing the very best of Haverford.”
The excitement of students is palpable in the halls.
“I have always looked forward to EA Day and this year being an upperclassmen, I am looking forward to getting a [win],” Fifth Former Render Ford said. “I think that people are getting excited.”
Fifth Form soccer player Jackson Raleigh shares similar feelings.
“I am playing a sport, so it is a different perspective than what I am used to,” Raleigh said. “I love to support the other events [but this time] it’s going to be more based on winning our individual game. As a kid, I really enjoyed watching the players out there, and having the opportunity to be one of those players is a really cool experience.”
For Third Formers, this will be their first upper-school EA Day experience.
“I am excited. It’s a great way to connect with peers older than me,” Third Former Grayson Morgan said. “I think that it’s going to be a good one this year.”
With all the excitement, the student body needs to remember to reflect the school’s temperament and character in a positive light.
“I really hope that our community, I mean this in a larger sense, including parents, faculty, and students, realize that this is a great event,” Mr. Murphy said. “I hope that any feedback we get is about how great, how supportive, or how loud our community is, and not anything negative.”
Students need to keep in mind the public nature of the event. The effects on our community as a whole are just as important.
“What I care most about are community and culture, and how community and culture can bring out the best in you all,” Mr. Casertano said. “What I saw last year was the community coming together to enhance a culture of support that allowed us to compete harder and win. I can’t wait to watch it again.”
As you make your way to EA’s campus on Saturday to keep the sweater, keep Mr. Murphy’s favorite phrase in mind: be loud, be proud, and “Go Fords.”