Freshman Water Fight Band Initiation

Informant Data:

The informant is an 18-year old American student who was born in Elk Grove, California in 1996. Her parents are both American. She is a freshman at the University of Southern California and thus currently resides in Los Angeles, California.


Contextual Data:

I was talking to the informant about high school, and I asked her if she had any fond experiences about high school clubs or extra curricular activities. She told me that she had many great experiences that she remembered about her time in band, especially how fun it was to have freshman initiations.

When I asked her why she enjoyed the freshman initiations, she told me that even though at the beginning it feels scary for them to be lined up and ready to get hit by water balloons, it’s a good experience for them to become a part of the team because they always eventually join in the water fight.



“The freshmen in my high school get pelted with water balloons. They have their backs turned to us and it’s very militaristic. And then we just start squirting them with water guns and throwing water balloons, and pretty soon we’re just having a big water fight. And we know they’re bound to not just sit there and get hit by water balloons, and we assume they’re gonna turn around and eventually fight back. But that’s part of the fun, you know?”



I thought this was an interesting band ritual that seemed to be a process that symbolized how the freshman band members might at first perceive joining the band to be intimidating, but then this ritual seems to let the new band members know that band is a fun experience by symbolically having the freshman engage in a fun water fight.