The Student News Site of Royal Oak High School

Acorn Newsmagazine

Acorn Newsmagazine

The Student News Site of Royal Oak High School

Acorn Newsmagazine

Winning Traditions

Teams share their secrets to success
Photo Credit: Men’s Swim and Dive Instagram

Royal Oak High School has experienced success through its strong athletic programs. Recent accomplishments include three league wins from the men’s varsity tennis, girls varsity golf, and the boys cross country teams. Although league wins and point standings are important, other aspects contribute to team successes.

“Camaraderie plays a giant role in the success of the team,” said senior Luca Ceccacci, who has been a part of the men’s varsity tennis team for three years and now serves as captain.  

“My fellow captain, Thomas, and I are very big on going out and doing extra team activities,” said Ceccacci. “Before regionals every year, we’ll go out to breakfast at six in the morning. It sounds ridiculous, but it’s awesome because it builds team chemistry. When we win away matches, we’ll usually go get slushies, and after regionals, we’ll go to Wendy’s and play baseball-tennis.” 

Photo Credit: Men’s Swim and Dive Instagram

Team activities and traditions don’t stop with the tennis team. Some Royal Oak High School teams with long-held traditions include the men’s swim and dive team and the boys and girls cross country teams. 

“As much as we’re in the pool together, we’re also hanging out, having sleepovers, and going out for team dinners and breakfasts,” said senior Trevor Smigelski, who has spent four years on the swim and dive team. 

Some special traditions precede the swim team’s league meet.

“One thing that we all do is shave our heads,” Smigelski said. “We do this for leagues. It helps us go faster and get into that leagues mentality. It’s an older tradition now, but before, you’d see full teams shaving their heads.  On Fridays, after practice, we’ll go out for a team dinner and that’s been the tradition forever.”

Girls cross country captain Izzy Fairless described some of the traditions her team shares. 

Photo Credit: Men’s Tennis Instagram

“Every summer to start the season, we usually go to cross country camp in Brighton for a few days. We go up with the boys team and set up tents, go out for runs, and play cards. After camp, we’ll have bonfires with both teams and go out for dinners,” she said.

What is the benefit of all of these team traditions and activities? Why are they passed down each year?

“It’s a sense of unity,” said Smigelski. “Everyone’s in it together. I see in a lot of other sports, [and] it can be very cliquey and everyone has their own group. With swim, it’s like we’re all one big family. All of the seniors talk to all of the freshmen, and the freshmen aren’t afraid to talk to the seniors. It’s important to know that you have support and people that you can talk to. It creates so many new friendships. Swim is such a big time commitment, and because you are always with these people, you find ways to make the best of it.”

Photo Credit: Men’s Tennis Instagram

“I believe that it really boosts team morale,” said Ceccacci. “When we’re all having a good time, it makes practices more fun and keeps players engaged. If we didn’t do these team bonding activities, then I think we’d get a lot of kids who aren’t excited to play, who are just looking to go to their next activity. When you have good team camaraderie, it makes people look forward to tennis. 

As players come and go, sports team traditions continue to build fellowship as each year passes. 

“At the end of the season, we always have a tennis sleepover,” Ceccacci said. “This year, there was a moment where everyone was just sharing how much they enjoyed tennis and how much fun they had. It was really meaningful to know that I was leading a group that benefited so many people.

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