The Man Behind “ ’Twas the Night Before the Shoe Game”

A Conversation with George Haugen

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Photo credits to George Haugen

Written by Eli Swanson, Editor

With the 2015 Shoe Game fast approaching, we thought it would be appropriate to take a trip back to 203.

 

It’s hard to picture ourselves way back then. It may have been only two years ago, but it feels like a lifetime since Thrift Shop and Blurred Lines were number one on the charts and the world waited — not so patiently, I might add — for the first royal baby.

 

While the rest of the country was doing the Harlem Shake, Pacific Grove was preparing to face its crosstown rivals in the annual Shoe Game. Both the P.G. and Carmel teams came into the game at 9-0(6-0 MTAL), so the league championship was also on the line.

 

In order to pump up the students before the Shoe Game each year, the Leadership class organizes a rally the Friday of Shoe Week — 2013 was no different.

 

Except 2013 was different.

 

2013’s rally gave birth to a new Breaker tradition: the annual poem.

 

“‘Twas the Night Before the Shoe Game”, a brilliantly witty adaptation of “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas,” took the school by storm. It brought the house down at the rally, and one could hear it being discussed all over campus for a long time.

 

The man behind the poem is George Haugen. A P.G. High junior back in 2013, George is now a freshman studying mechanical engineering at the University of Texas at Austin.

 

I recently had the chance to speak with George about the poem’s history ahead of this week’s Shoe Rally.

 

 

 

ES: How did the Shoe Poem come about? Was it your idea, or were you approached by someone else to write it?

 

GH: “It was all me. One day, about two weeks before the Shoe Game, I was standing in the shower and thought ‘ ‘twas the night before the Shoe Game, and all through the town, not a creature was stirring, not even Zach Brown.’

One day, about two weeks before the Shoe Game, I was standing in the shower and thought ‘ ‘twas the night before the Shoe Game, and all through the town, not a creature was stirring, not even Zach Brown.’ ”

I didn’t have anything more than that right away, but I knew it was something that I had to finish.”

 

ES: So what instigated your reading the poem at the rally?

 

GH: “First of all, I would like to say that I had no intentions of reading the poem at the rally when I created it. Anyways, one day I was in class and had a copy of the poem folded up in my pocket. Some people were reading the poem, and then Lela Hautau read the poem and thought it was great. She told me that she thought it needed to be shared and would talk to [Mr. Ottmar] to try to get it included in the rally”

 

ES: Obviously everyone loved it, but what do you remember about the aftermath of your rendition at the rally?

 

GH: “So much love. There were a lot of compliments and a lot of questions like ‘did you write that yourself?’ I’m just glad everyone enjoyed it, because it was really fun for me. 

I’m just glad everyone enjoyed it, because it was really fun for me. ”

Since reciting at the rally wasn’t part of my plan, I was just glad to have had the experience.”

 

ES: You created a new poem for last year. Why risk tarnishing the legacy of your creation by making a new one?

 

GH: “I didn’t seek [leadership] out the second year, they came to me. I didn’t choose to make this a tradition. If I become famous — or famous for being stupid — maybe someone will say ‘he’s the guy who wrote that poem.’ Since everyone loved it the first time, I didn’t want [the poem] to die.”

 

ES: Rumors have begun to spread that you might be performing another poem this year. Are these rumors true?

 

GH: “Yes. Supposedly over Skype.”

 

ES: Any last words?
GH: “This was never my goal when I thought of the poem the first year, but it’s been a lot of fun to be a part of the tradition as it’s grown.”