My name is Hayley Johnson ’20. I am seventeen years old. I am a senior. And last week, I took the biggest risk of my entire life. I entered the Asylum.
It sounded like a fun idea when it was presented to me. I was completely willing to sacrifice myself for the sake of knowledge and for Royal Reporter views. I did not understand what I was signing myself up for. I thought it would be easy. I was wrong.
The Asylum is Servite’s award-winning all boys cheering section. They’re practically famous for the spirit, volume, and overall intensity of the boys who opt to be a part of the tradition.
The nerves only began to creep in as I approached the stadium. I saw the Servite boys in their pro-dress, making their way up to the bleachers, and the challenge ahead of me began to present itself more clearly. But there was no backing out. I had to go in.
I went to the game with Maddy Gomez ‘20 and Whitney Deubler ‘20, both of whom had different ideas as to how I should approach the situation. Whitney encouraged me to try to sneak in through the back while she captured the moment on my phone, and Maddy gave me a simple “don’t do it.” Overwhelmed, I decided to call on the help of a Servite friend to guide me into the Asylum. I called Vince Mann ‘20 on my phone and asked him to meet Maddy, Whitney, and me just outside the Asylum. When I asked for his help, however, he declined with a nervous, “For your safety, no.”
At this point, my courage was rapidly draining, and I was close to making the decision to abandon the endeavor, when suddenly something came over me. A strength from deep within me overtook my sense of reason, and I made my way around to the back of the crowd. I took a deep breath, found a way in, and finally entered the Asylum.
I was in a sea of motion. All of the sounds around me merged into one as I was swallowed into this clump of well dressed, screaming boys. I couldn’t stand in one place for long. I pushed my way through the crowd, now unable to see the outside. I continually lost my balance, almost giving way to the pushing and shoving around me several times. I had to get out of there.
I fought for what seemed like eternity before I caught sight of a stunned Maddy and Whitney. I pushed out of the crowd the way I came and stumbled up the bleachers toward them. Whitney, laughing, snapped a few pictures of a very uncomfortable me, and these pictures are now the only remaining evidence of my task, my journey, and my narrow escape.
Needless to say, I spent the rest of the night far, far away from the Asylum. It is my humble desire that my experience – my own story of doubt and ultimate survival – will serve as not only an inspiration to others, but also as a cautionary tale.
I entered the Asylum so you’ll never have to.