Glee Club and Band compete in the Turkey Bowl

Here is what you missed over break: Elder’s most musical members clashed in their annual Thanksgiving football game.

Joe Reiter '17, Features Editor

For years, I have been hearing about this football game between the Glee Club and the Band. This past Thanksgiving break, I decided it was time to really see what it was all about. I stopped at Delhi park after school the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, where the game is traditionally played, and arrived just before kick off.

I walked around, greeted my fellow Panthers, and then someone shouted out, “Are you here for The Quill?”

Well no, I was not originally there for The Quill, but a story was suddenly in the making. I whipped out my phone and went to work.

I found out that this annual football game is one of Elder’s lesser known traditions, but it has been played throughout the decades (some even feel it has been played “forever”), and both teams really give it their all – they do it for the glory of winning and for the fun of it. Still, no man is safe out on the field. Ask senior Ryan Jennings – he went down with broken collarbone after a 40-yard run.

From the get-go, there were big plays and big hits. With the two groups waiting since last Thanksgiving, a game the Band won with a lot of late game controversy, these guys were ready to collide in yet another epic clash.

The game started off relatively close. The teams traded scores, and it was all tied up at 28 when they reached halftime.

However, the second half was dominated by the Glee Club. The Band put up a valiant effort in the second half, but they could not move down the field with the Glee Clubs superior size and former and current Elder football players Jake Ramstetter, Mark Klusman, Jack Jett, Zach Schmitt, Emmanuel Pastoriza, and Devon “Big Money” Slocum. All of these singers, along with Ryan Jennings, were unanimously nominated the teams MVP’s. The Band’s key players included Junior Matt Schmitt who had multiple touchdowns and a fumble recovery for a touchdown, and Bradin Roth was the heart and soul of the their defense.

The second half featured a scoring extravaganza with the Glee Club piling on 42 points in the third and fourth quarters while the Band manged to put up just 14. The final score was 70 to 42.

After the game, I managed to get a hold of some of the seniors who participated in their final Turkey Bowl.

On the Glee Club’s side, I talked with Liam Conway and Jack Jett.

Liam wanted to let everyone know that the Turkey Bowl is supposed to be played with “no rules,” and it is normally a bitter fight to the end.

He also pointed out that “NFL teams model their game of the Elder Glee Club.”

Conway’s favorite memory from the game was when Devon “Big Money” Slocum “sternum split” a defender with his shoulder before strutting into the end zone.

Senior Jack Jett was glad to have the trophy “back where it belongs” after the Band defeated them last year.

Jack Jett also wore a unique outfit to the game this year: a running singlet, short purple shorts, tights, and an arm sleeve. The reason he wore such an outfit was for “intimidation” while it was also tight enough to stop people from ripping him down by the shirt.

With one long touchdown run to open the game and a touchdown pass later on, Jett was one of the teams top players.

Over on the other side, Bradin Roth and Brian Pfaffinger had some thoughts on the game.

Roth, as I mentioned before, was a force on defense, and the game means a lot to him. As a kid, he used to come and watch the it.

All these years later, he finds himself out on the field with his fellow band members, “It’s special how we all connect on game day,” which he can attribute to the family atmosphere the Band seems to have.

The Band fought to the bitter end, and Roth is “proud” of the fact that they never gave up. The Band members really connect, so the game truly felt like a team effort for Roth.

Roth had his best Turkey Bowl ever with some big plays and a huge first down. A few times, only Klusman, Ramstetter, and Jett could take him down.

Pfaffinger also loves the Turkey Bowl since it is one of the great aspects that makes Elder tradition so special, and he felt that it was yet another memorable event for his senior year.

Although the Glee Club had “far superior athletic ability” the Band still gave it their all according the Pfaffinger.

Since they and their opponents were playing hard, the game was said to have gotten “a little dirty near the end,” but all the tensions left once the clock struck zero.

The last interview I had was with Glee Club member Paxton Kelley, and he had a perfect rendition of the Turkey Bowl.

I’ll let his words speak on their own.

“The Turkey Bowl is so special because it’s such a heated tradition. You come into Glee Club sophomore year and you’ve never heard of this thing that we do against the Band. But in the weeks leading up to it, the seniors start to make a huge deal out of it, so you start to realize that it’s actually a competitive event.  I’ll tell ya’ what, it gets some hype. I have no idea how long it’s been going on, but it’s been a tradition long enough that it’s a heated (but friendly) rivalry. I really don’t have a favorite memory of this year’s turkey bowl, but I really loved to see how everyone came together for a day. Kids I’d never talked to in Glee Club came out, we all played as a team, and it was fun as hell.  I blocked band guys I’d never met before, and now we talk in the hallways. That’s the kind of stuff I live for. You just can’t get that kind of event anywhere else. It’s something special and totally underrated.”

The Glee Club finished on top, but the Band was resilient and focused throughout the whole game. It was intense in a goodhearted and competitive way . At the end of it all, both groups are glad to have competed in one of Elder’s most unique traditions.