Harley recalls a folklore initiation performance that happened every year at his high school, Suffield Academy. He learned it from the upperclassmen when he was an underclassman, and it happens after the first significant snowfall of the winter. He says, It was called First Snow. Every year, when there was a first snow, big enough for a snow fight, wed try to fucking demolish the younger kids. Wed literally pile-drive them into the ice. We were mean. Thank god Sophomore year we were in a small dorm of 8 people, and most of us had brothers that were older than us, so we got to fight our friends pretty much. There was never any disrespect about any of it, it was just what had to happen. You knew it so youd just go out and take it. It was just hazing to the max, we just did it because we knew when we were old enough we could do it, too. This seems to be a pretty classic east-coast school tradition, the snowball fight, as is the senior/freshman hierarchy.
Harley says, I think it helped form who I am. Because my high school formed me into who I am, this is one of those traditions that is like a major memory of high school. I wouldnt say it changed me, it was just the whole experience [that did]. I totally agree. I think the likelihood of the actual snowball fight having anything to do with how he was shaped as a person is slim. However, the idea behind the tradition, that you have to take some punches and earn your way towards being an authority figure, is a good life lesson thats completely applicable in the real world.
Annotated: First snowfall ceremonies can be seen as documented in WorldsStrangest.com, in an article about the 10 Strangest College Traditions.
“The Quick 10 – 10 Strange College Traditions.” worldsstrangest.com. N.p., 29/OCT/2010. Web. 27 Apr 2011. <http://www.worldsstrangest.com/mental-floss/the-quick-10-10-strange-college-traditions/>.