Maximilian Gardner, 14, is a freshman in high school, and considers himself “Caucasian.” He plays football and basketball at his high school. He participated in this initiation rite as part of joining the basketball team.
Ok, now, the basketball team has this tournament in Phoenix every year, you see, and so it lasts for about three or four days. Well, on the last night there, the whole team goes to this one T.G.I. Fridays, and then, after the meal’s over, all the freshmen have to compete in this lemon eating competition. Basically, they get a whole bunch of lemon wedges and the first person to finish eating two whole lemons worth wins. Of course, everyone has to finish the lemons, whether they win or not, but the winner gets to start in the next game. And the loser has to wear princess clothes on the flight home. Needless to say, I won. They yanked me out of the game after about thirty seconds, but, hey! I got to start!
To Max, this initiation rite meant not only that he was a part of the team, but also that he had a chance at contributing. They are rewarding whichever freshman tries the hardest in this ritual by allowing them to start in a game, which is an honor. Normally, only the best players get to start a game.