Article by: Angelo Manaloto

Mario Puzo’s novel, The Godfather—forever immortalized by the film adaptation considered one of cinema’s most beloved classics— tells the story of the war among New York City’s most illustrious crime families for mafia supremacy. On September 23, ISM will hold a not-so-different but legal version of this battle for supremacy. Whereas Mario Puzo tells of the story of the Barzinis, the Cuneos, the Tattaglias, and the Corleones, the warring factions of this age-old conflict are known to us all too familiarly as none other than the freshmen, the sophomores, the juniors, and the seniors.

It is that time of the year. The Battle of the Bearcats is, once again, just around the corner.

That the Battle of the Bearcats (BOB) is one of the biggest events in high school is undisputed. Every year, each class competes against one another in a plethora of different activities and events, ranging from water polo under the blazing heat to ISM’s very own rendition of JeopardyI in the otherwise comfortable and air conditioned Little Theater. Many of the most anticipated events include the much-hyped Bearcat Idol, DotA videogame competition, and the dance competition, whose participants begin to practice tirelessly from the start of the year.

In line with its overarching spirit of competition, and much to the amusement of those of us who notice these kinds of things, no other registration form produces such excitement as the much-awaited BOB sign-up sheets, where students with various interests and inclinations itch to represent their class, be it through gaming behind computer desks or singing with an acapella group. All this fuss is for none other than the highly coveted Spirit Award.

This year, ISSBA’s addition of a lip-sync battle is certainly going to provide a refreshing and hilarious touch to the already dynamic lineup of events that build on what BOB has always been about: tradition and solidarity. The cheer-off at the beginning of every BOB that signals the start of what many would otherwise call the highlight of their high school experience. The sea of yellow, green, white, and black painting the hallways with hoarse voices and overwhelming spirit. The flash mob by the entire student body at the end of the day. BOB has always been the pinnacle of the high school experience: its roller coasters, its overarching spirit, and the friendships one develops.

Regardless of this, war is still war. Drums pound and send echoes bouncing across the gymnasium walls; feet stomp relentlessly and shake the very ground; adolescents scream at the top of their lungs – though not without an occasional and quickly concealed voice crack. These are the signs that war has begun.

Play nice and have fun, Bearcats!

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