Gym Students Are Chirping about Crickets

Gym Students Are Chirping about Crickets

Jonathan Tenenbaum, Staff Writer

As gym students rush into the locker room, they undo their locks and put on their spare set of clothes. As the initial chatter dies down, a peculiar sound fills the tiled room. Chirp, chirp. The room is silent. A few begin to shush the others. Chirp, chirp. And all in one movement, every student presses his ear to the metal lockers, like metal detectors, trying to locate the source of the noise. Sometimes a cricket will hop out, leading a horde of students to circle around it in a furious debate of whether to catch-and-release or end its misery. This has become a daily occurrence supported by hilariously strong opinions and a resounding sense of community and camaraderie.

Male gym students have begun noticing the growing presence of locker room crickets in recent months. As the temperature began to drop, the chirps came, at first a few, but as the weeks wore on, cricket sightings increased, and soon enough, the few crickets had become accepted as normal residents. Whether the crickets entered through some opening in the wall or tagged-along with some outdoor athletes remains unknown, but biology teacher Dr. Kennedy has some answers to pressing questions circulating in the locker room.

“The crickets come indoors largely to stay warm with the colder months approaching. Definitely not because they like the smell of the locker room,” Dr. Kennedy said, “And that familiar sound? Crickets rub file-like structures on their legs that, when brushed against one another, produce the chirps.”

Aside from speculation, no one truly knows how many crickets there are and where they are living in the locker room.

“You think it’s near you, but it’s actually somewhere different altogether because the chirping echoes in the locker room,” said John Aljian (’21). “The crickets really mislead you. Nobody knows if there’s three or seventeen, and it’s always a surprise where they’ll be hiding next.”

Many students not taking gym this marking period and female gym students reacted to the presence of the crickets with disgust when interviewed, but weirdly enough, the jumping bugs have gained a sort of following among male gym students.

“They’re amazing, they brighten up every gym class,” said Omer Avidan (’21).

“The crickets? Oh yeah, the ones in the locker room. They’re lowkey kind of cute. Everyone in gym talks about them, and I feel like they bring us together as one big community,” said Gus Bienenfeld (’21).

“I love their beautiful song. Go Tigers!” said Jaden Choi (’21).

So, although the entry method, quantity, and location of these musical insects largely remain mysteries, an important lesson is still to be learned: community. Yes, it may sound outright ridiculous, but the ability of gym students to unite and bond over the presence of insect pests does say something about the innate desire and effort for community. If Tenafly gym students can find wonder and mystery in crickets, maybe even the world’s most pressing disagreements can be solved with a little compassion, sense of community, and a jump in the right direction.