During one of the most attended rivalry week events, a parade of orange and blue fills the stadium, while each football team fights it out for only one school to come out on top. Rival friends are not seen sitting in the opposing student sections, they are usually with their school friends in their sands. However, Giorgia Gambacorta, a Hagerty sophomore, had an unexpectedly memorable experience sitting in the opposite section with her friend, junior Leah Hebert from Oviedo. The longtime rivalry between Hagerty and Oviedo isn’t enough to separate these two, and many other best friend relationships.
“I actually really enjoyed sitting at the Oviedo section, it was really fun and I love the energy they gave off,” Gambacorta said. “At one point one of the boys realized I didn’t go there, and they started to chant ‘You don’t go here’ which was a little embarrassing but hilarious at the same time, but they ended up letting me sit with them.”
Often, friends who go to separate schools have met before high school started, usually in middle and elementary school. This time spent together within a school environment at a young age strengthened bonds to the point where, years later, they do not feel the need to see each other every single day to remain good friends.
“Whenever we see each other, we always have so much to catch up on and it’s a good time,” Oviedo sophomore Ava Bassani said about her best friend, Zoe Thornsbury.
Certain school events unite two friends after not seeing each other as well, and the rivalry week between Hagerty and Oviedo leading up to the football game has been the biggest.
“Rivalry week is always fun because we both talk smack and defend our schools but always keep our friendship in mind,” Bassani said.
Students take pride in their school and will defend anything said about where they go, but it becomes more of a joke and a playful tease between friends in these rivalry situations. Perspective changes, however, when it goes from a student watching the team to being on the team.
Neither Torres or Soto Marquez play a sport, therefore the competitiveness is not as prominent in their friendship.
“We don’t compete over which school is better at football games because we aren’t the ones playing it becomes irrelevant when we are together,” Oviedo sophomore, and best friends of Torres, Jarelis Soto Marquez said.
Oviedo junior Chloe Pinkston and Hagerty sophomore Chhavi Goyal are close friends who play the same sport and they have played many matches against each other over the years. On Tuesday, March 3, Pinkston and Goyal went head to head in doubles .
“As we warmed up, we would smile at each other and laugh once in a while. But once the match started, Chhavi and I both knew we had to put our school and our team first. As we got farther into the match, which started off pretty close, there were less and less smiles or conversation in between games. We both wanted to win for our school, which is obviously a priority, and we understand that,” Pinkston said. “Eventually, I wasn’t even thinking about the fact that I was playing against one of my best friends. I was just focused on my technique, footwork, and energy as if I was playing against a total stranger.”
When the match ended, Goyal took the win for Hagerty, but they went right back to smiles and laughs.
“I love Chhavi and although I lost that match, I’m thrilled for her that she was able to win, because she had played a great game,” Pinkston said.
Thornsbury and Bassini have a strong and playful relationship, but when they get to the softball field, it is game on. Their competitiveness kicks in during the game. But when the game is over, Thornsbury and Bassini go over to each other and say ‘Good job.’
“I have two different kinds of friendships that cannot be compared,” said Thornsbury. “I love all my friends no matter what school they go to,”
The unique bond and relationship between friends comes out on top, in comparison to the rivalry between two schools.
“I feel like being at different schools makes our friendship stronger because it proves we can still be really good best friends without distance or not seeing each other every day get in the way,” Oviedo sophomore Briana Torres said, referring to Jarelis Soto Marquez. “Going to different schools shouldn’t affect somebody’s friendship and if it does, you aren’t real friends.
This story was originally published on Hagerty Journalism Today on March 11, 2020.