Volleyball’s Purple Pride Night is a time to bring extra attention to sports teams with important games using incentives and school spirit. This year, Purple Pride Night occurred on Thursday, Sept. 13, but many people didn’t even know the night happened. Those who attended watched their friends and classmates play a great volleyball game while getting a free beaded necklace and T-shirt for coming out and providing support to the players.
Marlborough doesn’t have pep rallies, but Purple Pride Night was developed by former Athletic Director, David Collicut, and the Student Athletic Council around 2008. The feedback on Purple Pride Night from the volleyball coaches, team parents, and other athletic directors was positive. Drew Burdette, varsity volleyball coach, said that Purple Pride Night “is more exciting, provides more support for the team and usually makes the team perform better than usual.”
Burdette thinks that Purple Pride Night’s extra support and attendance can only positively affect the players despite the increased pressure on the team members.
“The girls are used to lots of competition and very high stakes,” Burdette said. “[It] was only the second league game of the season, and JV won their games partially due to the fact that Purple Pride Night had a 30–50% larger turnout than usual.”
Athletic therapist Chloe Kipnis, who also attended Purple Pride Night this year, agreed that the night had positive effects for the volleyball team.
“Purple Pride Night is successful in bringing attention to volleyball because incentives bring people in. People want to come to support their friends and if there’s free stuff . . . even better,” Kipnis commented.
Parents, including Donna Econn, mother of Helena ’21, completely support Purple Pride Night because they feel as if it truly serves its purpose and is a positive factor on their daughters’ playing.
“Even though Helena is still injured and unable to play, I love coming out to the games to support the other girls because it shows team spirit,” Econn said.
Purple Pride Night is a purely Marlborough tradition, but other schools have similar events to encourage support for their sports teams. Harvard-Westlake School has a spirit week where the last day is Harvard-Westlake-themed, and some big sports games are announced to the entire student body through a mass email. The school also makes some sports teams go to games for other teams. And of course, there is the famous Harvard-Westlake homecoming that is open to students from any school.
The Archer School, another non-religious all-girls school, does not have pep rallies either, but there are school-wide events such as their spirit week. Most students show up to support each other from across all grades for sports games because people know when the games are, as there is a shared calendar and the events are all typically posted around the school.
Bella ’21 says, “Our team wants more people to come out to support us in the future because it’s a great way to bond and improve our chances of winning.”