A simple five layer dip can have a quite powerful unifying effect, to many’s surprise. The Byram Hills High School Varsity Field Hockey team made this discovery all the way back in 2016, and it changed the game forever for them.
I, myself, was a member of this team from 2016 to 2020: my freshman year of high school. Our team was composed of an unproportionally large group of freshmen talent, and by talent, I mean we were losing all of our games. The team had previously been a force to be reckoned with in the county, but after losing much of the team at graduation, they suffered with a lack of experienced players along with a new coach that 2016 fall. The group assembled was young, unorganized, and very timid – understandably.
The captains had organized a team dinner to try and increase morale and create a more tight-knit, cohesive team. My mom, Palma Manners, volunteered to make dip for the dinner; little did she know the impact this dip would have on the coming season and the following years. The dip itself is simple (and definitely worth trying yourself): it is a beautifully constructed five layer stack of (from bottom to top) 1 (16 oz) can of refried beans, 1 (16 oz) container of sour cream seasoned with a ½ package of taco seasoning mix, about 10 ounces of guacamole, 2 cups of shredded cheddar cheese, and finally topped with 1 large tomato, chopped.
“I only started making it your freshman year when you started doing team dinners,” she reflects. “I had offered to make it your very first team dinner, and it was such a hit that it was requested for every team dinner after. It became a bit of a tradition.”
A tradition indeed! It gave the team something to bond over, a sort of unifying ritual. Every week for the rest of the season, we would get together, over dip, and slowly form the close-knit team that we had wanted to be. We didn’t win many games still, we were still a young team with much to learn, but we started actually playing together, we found a rhythm. We even started writing “TOGETHER” on our legs in sharpie before every game as a reminder of this.
Every year for the next three years that I was playing and my mom was making dip, some players graduated and we gained new ones, but the tradition remained, and each year we would become a stronger team. The dip was such a simple tradition, but it became iconic for our group, and we still all reminisce about it today. I don’t remember any scores from that first year or the result of any of those games after, but I do remember the players, many of whom are still my best friends two years out of high school, and the memories we made over chips and dip every week.