The following is transcribed from a conversation between the informant and the interviewer.
Interviewer: You remember that game we played in highschool, water assassins?
Informant: Oh yeah! How could I forget? That shit was so much fun, dude.
Interviewer: you think you could explain a bit about what the aim of the game was?
Informant: for sure, we basically just got the entire senior class to get into teams of 5 or something like that and then we all got a target who we had to eliminate by spraying them with a water gun. Whoever got the most eliminations moved onto the next round and then whoever got the most by the end won the whole thing and then a pot of prize money.
My Informant is a 21 year old male who has lived in California for over 20 years. He originally lived in Utah, but moved too early to remember it there. He has very liberal views and works a full time job.
I spoke to my informant over a zoom call during the 2020 Coronavirus epidemic.
I think the idea of water assassins is great. It gets everyone in the entire senior class involved and makes them actually think of strategies and plan ahead for how to win. It is also interesting to see how far-reaching this trend is, as i have heard of people playing this as far as the east coast and even in the UK.
Informant: Whenever it was someone’s birthday on the team they would have to play “Bottom’s Up.” They would have to stand in the goal, bend over, and grab the net with their head down and closed eyes. Their butts would be in the air facing the field, and everyone else on the team got to take a shot and hit you in the butt. If you were hit, you were hit. If you flinched then the person got to shoot again. It was a fun thing we always ended practice with whenever there was a birthday. I just hated when it was my birthday, haha.
The informant is a great friend and housemate of mine, who is currently a senior at USC studying Health and Human Sciences whose family is living in a town four hours outside of Denver, Colorado. Coming from a military family, the informant has lived in various areas, the most memorable for him was New Orleans. The informant is half Korean and half Caucasian, and is a sports fanatic having played soccer for most of his life. The informant is also a very big raver, as he enjoys going to several festivals a year, originally beginning to attend in his senior year of high school.
During our interview I brought up how different games can be considered as folklore. After I described how games fit these categories he remembered a game him and his high school soccer team used to play which was taught to them by their coach.
This folk game is a great combination of a game, as well as a folk ritual as it occurs on every birthday almost serving as an initiation. This shared experience that everyone on the team had to go through is something they could all relate to and participate in, fostering a sense of unity amongst teammates as well. There is also a great sense of humor about this game where everyone gets a chance to honor the person whose birthday in a more rabble-rousing way.
This piece is about Bentonville High School’s senior sendoff tradition that involved a spirit group called the Men in Black.
“C: How about from your hometown or high school? Do you guys have any traditions or anything?
S: Oh yeah, okay so… Yeah we had a couple. Our senior sendoff was different. So we had two buildings at our high school and there was this road that divides them in the middle. So what would happen is, I was in this group called the Men in Black.
C: Like the movies?
S: Well, my high school was 4,200 kids. So a very big high school and there was a group of about 10 or 15 senior boys every year that would lead spirit things and student section things.
C: Oh so like the spirit club?
S: Yeah, but we were like badass. That was us. Like everyone knew that we were cool. Like we were the cool guys. So what would happen is, everyone would bring their cars to that middle part for senior sendoff and the Men in Black would be on top of the cars leading everything. And then all the seniors would gather around and the underclassmen would watch from the outside. And then you count down and then people would go crazy honking the horns and everything. It’s this huge thing.”
The informant is a 20 year old from Bentonville, Arkansas and has a lot of school spirit. He was a member of the Men in Black throughout high school and participated in the senior sendoffs at his school.
Any kind of senior sendoff tradition is significant because it signifies the start of a new time in one’s life. It is a milestone that most American students cross at some point and they are often made special due to the significance of the event. I think one interesting aspect of this piece and the experience is that it is led by a spirit group that calls themselves the Men in Black. In the movies, the purpose of the Men in Black are to have people who witness aliens forget their experience. Though in this senior sendoff, it seems that they are trying to make it as memorable as possible.