The following is an unpublished Varsity Letter column. It visualizes the concept of a high school Olympics in Montgomery County.
Over the past two weeks, our school competed in the 2028 Montgomery County Olympics. Thanks to Herculean efforts from Patriot athletes, our school populated the podium and took home first place.
The Olympic Games originated in ancient Greece and were revived in 1896 as a modern sporting competition. The greatness of the Olympic Games was limited to the international scope until an ambitious student reasoned that it was exactly the spectacle that his county needed to showcase athletic prowess, bolster school spirit and unify the schools. With the help of recently elected MCPS superintendent Matt Post (who ensured that the Games would replace two weeks of school), the student saw his dream become reality.
The MoCo Olympics, hosted by Gaithersburg High School, featured the county’s 27 schools competing in 10 sports. On each day of competition, schools competed in a different sport in front of stadiums packed full of spectators, with girls’ competitions in the afternoon and boys’ competitions in the evening. Dodgeball, swim and dive, field hockey, basketball and baseball took the stage during the first week, while wrestling, volleyball, track and field, tennis and capture the flag followed suit in the second week. Medal counts would determine which school, through asserting its athletic superiority, would receive the prize $100,000 grant.
From the start, the inaugural MoCo Olympics captured the Olympic spirit. In lieu of the Olympic torch, science teachers from all 27 high schools carried lit Bunsen burners to the center of the football field in a show of unity during the magnanimous opening ceremony. The ceremony also included a parade of all the athletes along with musical performances from each school, headlined by a concert from Gaithersburg High alumnus Logic. But, of course, it was our very own Woottonettes who stole the show with a memorable performance.
With the niceties out of the way, the competition commenced. But from the start, it became apparent that the Patriots were off their “A” game. The school failed to make the podium each of the first five days.
All seemed lost until gym teacher and head coach James Long called a school-wide meeting after an embarrassing shellacking on the baseball diamond. He proceeded to give the most stirring, Paul Revere-esque speech in the history of the school and galvanized the school’s athletes to fight harder than they ever thought possible.
Sitting in 27th as the second week opened, the Patriots looked to prove the doubters wrong. The wrestling and volleyball teams took bronze and track and field eked out a silver, boosting the Patriots into the top ten. After the tennis teams secured the gold, the Patriots found themselves in third, behind only Northwest and Churchill. It would come down to the final, team-wide competition, capture the flag, to determine the winner.
In front of thousands of spectators, the Patriots routed cross-town rival Crown and then topped Whitman and Einstein to reach the final. Their opponent- Churchill, who had upset Northwest to set up an all-or-nothing championship game. Everything was on the line.
The two sides were locked in a stalemate early, but when the Churchill defense focused on a mass of Patriot runners attacking from the right, unheralded pole vaulter Doran Smith slipped unnoticed into the safe zone. Seeing Smith in the zone, Long sent every athlete into Churchill territory and Smith, clutching the Montgomery County flag, made a mad dash amongst the chaos. With one Bulldog between him and the boundary, Smith leaped over the lunging defender and landed safely in Patriot territory, giving his school an incredible victory. “Do you believe in miracles?” cried ESPN sportscaster Joe Pohoryles, before declaring “they won’t be doubting Thomas anymore!”
It was the single greatest moment in the history of the school. There was not a dry eye around when the Patriots were awarded their gold medals, with the school’s band blasting the school’s anthem, “Oh We Rollin”, in the background. Tommy Sprigg would be proud.