Hear the tales of the Male/Manual game from their alumni


Emma "EP" Presnell

The Crimsons fought, but were ultimately beat by the Bulldogs. While they played defensively, they couldn’t keep up with Male’s offense. Photo by Emma “EP” Presnell.

Yaara Aleissa

The Male/Manual game is an annually anticipated game from students at both rival schools and even students around the city since Manual opened as the second public school in Louisville in 1892.

The game was celebrated each year on Thanksgiving, and it was so frequent that families from Male and Manual would typically save their dinner until late after the game, some would have it much earlier at around noon to make it to the game, according to Manual Alumni Director Mike McDaniel.

“Everyone on Thanksgiving had a favorite, throughout Louisville, it was ‘well are you for Male or are you for Manual,’” McDaniel said. 

He recalled people decorating their cars with the rival school colors to show their support with streamers of purple and gold or red and white, building up the anticipation for the game. 

Inside Manual other festivities took place, with some having survived until now, while others are in history pages. 

McDaniel recalled the dating scene around the time of the game, it was a commonality that people would bring a date with them to the game and an honorary invite to the “game of the season” was a big deal. This invite included a corsage that would be gifted to someone’s date, either a red and white carnation with an “M”  or a purple and gold carnation with an “H” on it. 

While this tradition no longer continues, he is still impressed with the amount of school spirit that the Manual student section has as they lead on with the same R/W cheer his class of 1964 would rally at school pep rallies. However, one cheer that didn’t make it to our pep rallies today was the cheer specifically for seniors that would chant, “we run the school we do”. Some annual festivities that would occur included the crowning of Mr. Manual and Ms. Manual at the pep rally for students that had the best-dressed school spirit attire of red and white.

What stands out for McDaniel, who has had the chance to witness a couple of pep rallies in the last five years, is the large gym that fits all the students in the school, sectioned off by grade levels. Though, being a graduate of 1964, there was no large gym at Manual. Pep rallies were in the auditorium with schedules for each grade level to come and have their class pep rally due to the limited space. 

From the telling of an alum and former Manual football player, Buz Frank, a graduate from the class of 1968. He recalls the live mascots that would roam the field, a live ram and a live bulldog. Since the game took place on Thanksgiving Day, he recalls the atmosphere of his dinner table and his dad as a Manual man while his uncle was a Male man. 

“Both sides of the family would meet for Thanksgiving dinner after the game. One side of the table was always happy, the other side glum,” said Frank. 

The rivalry between Manual and Male had to do with Louisville Male High School being the first magnet school to open up in the district. Thirty-six years after it’s opening duPont Manual High School opened as the second magnet school in the district. The two schools became targets to each other, fighting for the number one slot in sports, academics, and more. 

On the side of Male, Randy Whetstone is a 2008 graduate from the high school and retells some of the exciting moments from his graduating class made up of pep rallies, red letter M’s being painted on Male windows, and a mix of senior pranks. 

One prank that he remembers was built off of the turn out of their pep rally. From his graduating year, the juniors had beat them in the pep rally that seniors were typically expected to win, and the juniors did not let them live it down.

The tension between the Male juniors and seniors built up for the rest of the year until the seniors decided to take the incentive of being out of school a week earlier than the rest of the school to get back at the juniors. 

“We all decided to go to the parking lot where the juniors park and we made an ‘08 with our car. We pretty much blocked the whole parking lot and left all the juniors on Preston Hwy blocking traffic. It was a lot of fun,” describes Whetstone. 

On the day of the game, all the students at Male would be on their toes, barely getting through classes in anticipation of the pep rally that would get all the students riled up for the big game. Friday’s were jean days at Male and for the pep rally students would dress down in their school spirit attire. Some students would even purchase the custom made Male/Manual shirt made each year for the game.  

Throughout his four years of high school, Whetstone recalls that the game was always sold out, a big hit beyond just the rival schools but across the city.  

Although when it comes to the rivalry between the two schools, as an alum Whetstone has great respect for both schools for their academic rigor that is showcased through their talented students and the history that the schools hold making each of these games and events a moment for the books.

This year’s game is on the minds of students and alums alike. Manual alum Frank has been to 66 consecutive games since he graduated, never missing one and plans to attend this Friday’s home game at Manual. He recalls that Manual has always been louder than Male and that the student section’s exuberance is one that will be remembered and he expects to be greeted with Friday night.