WASHINGTON, DC—At a pep rally Monday on the National Mall, a coalition of enthusiastic U.S. teens vowed to make 2002 the "best year ever."
Decked out in red-white-and-blue "spirit wear," the high-energy youths clapped, cheered, and did cartwheels on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, visibly increasing the energy level of the estimated 1.3 million U.S. citizens in attendance.
"Hello, America!" said Jennifer Richards, captain of the U.S. Peppy Teen Squad. "Raise your hands in the air if you think America kicks butt! Whoooo!"
Richards then did a series of backflips and high kicks before unveiling the schedule of USPTS-sponsored events that will keep the nation's spirits high throughout 2002.
"Once again, you can look forward to the annual banner contest," Richards said. "The state with the best banner will win $36 million in infrastructure upgrades. And just because Montana won the last three years running doesn't mean they'll win again this year!"
Richards then handed the microphone to USPTS co-captain Mark Chandler.
"Now, I know that a few of you states—I won't mention any names, but one starts with 'A' and ends with 'laska'—don't like doing the banners," Chandler said. "But, guys, really, the banners keep everyone's spirits up all year. I've seen the banners they have in places like Guatemala and Uzbekistan, and they're nowhere near as good as ours."
Other USPTS events planned for 2002 include U.S. Dress-Up Week, which will include such theme days as '80s Day and Nerd Day; a U.S. Spirit Car Wash in August; and a 50-state pizza party and mixer before the start of the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City.
"2001 was a real downer year for the U.S.," Chandler said. "Especially with the terrorist attacks and the men's swim team losing at the world championships. So we're going to work extra hard to make sure this is the best year ever."
Chandler reminded the crowd that everyone needs to do his or her part to make 2002 a big success.
"Vice President Cheney says many of our nation's national parks have been looking pretty trashy lately," Chandler said. "If everyone just does their part and throws away their garbage, this won't be a problem. If you see a piece of trash, even if it isn't yours, just pick it up and throw it away. It's that simple!"
A visibly excited Richards then took the microphone.
"Guess what time it is!" said Richards, holding aloft a red-white-and-blue painted stick adorned with shiny tassels. "Time to pass the U.S. Spirit Stick! The state that makes the most noise will get the honor of holding onto it for the whole year! C'mon, everybody!"
Chanting, "We got spirit, yes we do! We got spirit, how 'bout you?" the teens yelled out the name of each state in alphabetical order, prompting screams from residents in the crowd. The U.S. Supreme Court judged the contest, voting Vermont the loudest in a 7-2 decision.
"Next week, we've got an ambassador going all the way to Cairo to meet with a delegation of Arab-world leaders," Richards said. "Let's show how much we're behind him and make sure that he comes back... walking like an Egyptian!"
The lights dimmed, and Chandler and Richards stepped into formation with the other teens to perform a choreographed dance to The Bangles' 1986 hit "Walk Like An Egyptian."
In spite of the thunderous applause the performance received, a handful of audience members were unimpressed.
"That totally sucked," said Tony Aldieri from Michigan, widely regarded as a "burnout" state. "They don't really care about the U.S. that much. They just want something to put on their resumes so they can get into a good college. You'd have to be a real loser to actually be that into this country. This country blows. As soon as I get enough money, I'm outta here. I'm packing up my shit and moving someplace cool, like Madagascar."