Sweeping Stroud no longer a chore

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“It all started with just sweeping the stage.”

At least that’s how sweep team began according to junior Brendon Bacon. You may remember them as the “2015 dodgeball costume champions,” but according to the students involved, sweep team is so much more. Members include Bacon (manager) and fellow juniors Ben Guttschow (captain), Alex Walbert, Emily Rodriguez, and honorary member “Papa Rod” (Rodriguez’ father.)

“Sweep team is a group of people working tech which has to start cleaning up a lot and it became something much larger than that,” Walbert said. “It almost became a cult organization.”

The sweep team is in charge of upkeep in Stroud, but the crew has diverted the chore of sweeping into a group of “techies” dedicated to having a good time.

“It’s hard to describe the true nature of the sweep team,” stage manager and senior Jacob Mattia said with a laugh. “There’s a kind of dynamic of heavy sarcasm and mildly inappropriate jokes and dark humor.”

Though it has expanded into a group committed to keeping Stroud Auditorium a positive and fun environment, the sweep team comes from a humble beginning.

“One day we were sweeping and I think (U-High alum) Patrick Day came up with the idea and then we were the sweep team,” Guttschow said.  

The original purpose of sweep team, however, was not just to keep the stage clean between rehearsals and shows. In fact, the original group (Guttschow, Bacon, Walbert and U-High alumni Patrick Day, Lucas Hansen, and Mason Aberle) formed to compete together in the annual Rotary Interact Dodgeball tournament.

“They created this elite, dominating dodgeball force and they even had a mascot,” Stroud manager Ben Webb said.

While they have retired from their dodgeball career, the friendship and brotherhood between the boys involved remains steadfast.

“Alex, Ben, and I are the best of friends,” Bacon said. “We get along really well and it helps a ton. Webb is like our dad there to make sure we don’t hurt somebody. Jacob is the responsible one,” he added with a grin.

At this point, none of the boys see themselves continuing with a career in theatre tech but one thing is for sure: the memories created backstage in Stroud are something they will each hold on to forever.

“During ‘Anything Goes’ we were talking to eachother on headsets about the show and I realized all of the work we had done the weeks and months before had come together to make something amazing,” Mattia said. “It was so satisfying to know that what we did meant something and made a difference for the show.”

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