What is the perfect ending to an undefeated Hercules High School Badminton season, Operation Naked Mole Rat.
Operation Naked Mole Rat was born when Assistant Badminton Coach Andre Alvarez made a bet with the team, that if they could complete the season undefeated, he would shave off all of his hair.
The team was disappointed when Alvarez did not completely shave his head bald and that his eyebrows were left untouched.
Alvarez has been growing his mane for two and a half years, and after the last badminton game on May 1, Coach Norman Chan ceremoniously cut Alvarez’s goatee and hair. Alvarez’s hair will be donated to the organization “Locks for Love.”
The year before the team had to share the Alameda Contra Costa County Athletic League (ACCAL) pennant flag with rival school, Berkeley High. Alvarez made the bet with the team as a means of motivation to be the sole champion this year.
“We have been waiting for this [championship] for three years,” HHS junior Yerie Nam said.
According to Chan, Alvarez had equally long hair and was nicknamed “Jesus Christ” in 2005 and 2006. Alvarez came back, after graduating, to coach the badminton team without the “Jesus” hairdo.
“My first year [in badminton] I saw Andre bald,” HHS senior Jesse Erandio said. “It feels like I am reliving a childhood memory. He is back to looking like me.”