Red team triumphs in Middle Mania dodgeball tournament

Eddie Jin

Looming over the atrium in Rose Hall are giant, painted banners that signify the beginning of the annual Middle Mania competition.
Middle Mania, which culminates in a day of competition in the spring, also includes events during the school year. Two weeks ago, the entire Middle Division gathered for a dodgeball tournament, which inaugurated a series of competitions between five teams: red, blue, green, yellow and black, green team captain Kate Feiner (8) said.
The red, black, and blue teams swept the top three places, giving them a lead in the competition so far.
The tournament turned out great and everybody participated, Eighth Grade Dean Carlos Aguilar said.
“It was a lot of fun competing with my classmates and friends,” Aryan Palla (6) said.
The goal of Middle Mania is to promote school spirit and allow the students to enjoy themselves, Head of Middle Division Robin Ingram, said.
“A lot of kids are so overscheduled so it’s nice to have a chance to have fun during the school day,” Ingram said.
During Middle Mania, many teachers assign less work, giving students an opportunity to relax with their friends and have fun,” Palla (6) said.
The Middle Mania events are organized by team captains, who are eighth graders selected by a faculty committee, and grade deans, Ingram said.
“They help to create the posters and banners and go to all the events so they have to get excused from class. It is a big time commitment for captains,” Ingram said.
In addition to planning events, Middle Mania captains help to animate events and raise spirit amongst students. “We give out candy, lead team cheers, and encourage the participants,” black team Captain Catherine Mignone (8) said.
“As captains, we need to always stay positive and optimistic even if our team is losing, Feiner said. “We are also responsible for being good role models for younger students.”
Aguilar is also an essential figure in Middle Mania planning. He has a multitude of responsibilities, from coordinating events with team captains to storing mascots’ costumes in his office. Every time a dean reaches the eighth grade shift, they are in charge of Middle Mania, Aguilar said.
Additionally, other teachers are often asked to assist with certain events. There’s a volunteer basis for when teachers get called upon to help out, robotics teacher Glenda Guerrero said.
At times, events will require specific teachers to help. For example, the Athletics Department played a large role in the dodgeball tournament, and the “Name that Tune” contest required the help of the Music Department, Guerrero said.
The Middle Mania competition is an integral component of student bonding, Vincent Li (8) said. “I would not have met a lot of my teammates if it weren’t for Middle Mania,” he said.
“It creates a sense of community that we highly value,” Aguilar said.