If you have seen Sixth Formers walking through Haverford’s campus with inflatable rings around both their arms, do not judge them too harshly. All they are trying to do is escape a watery defeat.
Sixth Former Liam Harkins, with some inspiration from other schools, came up with the idea to organize a game that would bring some enjoyment to the end of an unorthodox school year about one or two weeks before spring break. It started immediately after spring break.
“I thought that it was important that we got to do something as a class together just because of how weird this year has been,” Harkins said. “They did it two years ago, and I thought it would be fun to have something together.”
The rules are simple: to enter, students have to pay ten dollars, and each week, participants receive a target they must get water on in some shape or form, whether it be a water gun or a bucket of water. They must also have video proof of the kill, and the only way a Sixth Former can protect himself is to wear the arm “floaties.” If a participant is hit or fails to hit his target, they are eliminated. The last man standing wins seventy percent of the pot (which is around $500), second wins twenty, and third wins ten.
Helping Liam organize the game and run the logistics is Fifth Former Sam Gerber. He ensures there is no bias in the target selection process, enforces all the rules, and updates the game’s Instagram.
“Usually I’ll just sit down at night, send videos throughout the day, and get texts every now and then about rule clarification or questions about the game,” Gerber said. “On Sundays, I have to figure out who’s in, who’s out, and who’s going to [go against] the coming week.”
The selection process is completely random, and each person’s target and status is tracked on an Excel spreadsheet.
Some restrictions on the game include the time and place that a “kill” can occur. Haverford’s campus (excluding the Red Lot) during school hours is off-limits, and a participant cannot hit someone else at school events, work, practice, or games. Anywhere and anytime else is fair game.
“I was pretty invested. I went out and bought my own water gun, had some range. I even ordered some floaties on Amazon, so I was definitely putting in money to play the game properly.”Ryn Ngo ’21
Sixth Former Ryan Ngo, who was eliminated by fellow participant Trever Pettibone, shared the commitment he put in to win the grand prize.
“I was pretty invested,” Ngo said. “I went out and bought my own water gun, had some range. I even ordered some floaties on Amazon, so I was definitely putting in money to play the game properly.”
His two strategies to get a kill were to hit his target after practice and to figure out the target’s class schedule and hit him before or after school, and he claimed that the latter was a common way many people tried to target others.
But not all strategies are considered authorized. Harkins thought everyone would adhere to an unspoken restriction to the game, the use of physical force to get a target, as the gray area emboldened someone to take a rather extreme approach to take someone out.
“One kid paid his friend to drag the one kid out of his house and tackle him to the ground and then take his floaties off.”Liam Harkins ’21
“One kid paid his friend to drag the one kid out of his house and tackle him to the ground and then take his floaties off,” Harkins said. “We didn’t count that, obviously.”
Despite the one anomaly, Sixth Formers for the most part are playing respectfully and honestly. On occasion, a participant does not get video proof of a kill, but the target usually admits that he was it and accepts elimination.
Everyone is competing against each other for the cash prize, but at the end of the day, the game is supposed to unite the Sixth Form together with some fun and to end the year with a splash.