Photo by Jessica Lewis: Field Hockey team entering Spirit Assembly.
After a recent WCI spirit assembly a question has arisen: is hazing still happening? “Hazing,” mainly performed by athletes, was first made out to be a “punishment” or “initiation” for rookies on a team. It is the act of making fools out of rookies, by dressing them up in ridiculous outfits or writing all over them. At WCI, the veteran players try to embarrass the rookies in front of the whole school when they enter the assembly.
A former WCI student, Jordan B, said that hazing has progressively gotten better over the years. His junior years at WCI were the worst for hazing. “When I was in grade 10, some of the male players had to wear bras as rookies entering the assembly,” he explained. “All the spectators found it hilarious, and it didn’t seem like the rookies hated it.”
Mark M, a grade 12 senior football player at WCI, had a different perspective on things. As a junior, Mark was dressed up in a maid outfit and was forced to sweep the floor while leading the rest of the team into the gymnasium. He said, “I felt quite victimized and like I was lesser than the rest of the team.” Mark was the only player on the football team who was hazed that year. “I was the only one at this assembly. I was the centre of attention for all the wrong reasons.”
This year at the assembly, hazing seemed to be at an all-time low, as all the teams were warned not to perform any hazing on the rookies. The senior football team’s coach, Mr. Waters, said, “I was told by the VP to warn you guys that there will be absolutely no hazing at the assembly this year.”
Some of the sports teams still managed to pull little things off, though, such as writing “ROOKIE” across foreheads, arms and legs.
When asked if hazing was still taking place, Vikings quarterback, Mark C, answered, “Oh, definitely! Just not as much as previous years.” According to Mark M, hazing nowadays “is seen less as punishment and more as light-hearted fun.” He also made the remark that hazing is appropriate, only if the rookies agree to it and are not forced into anything.
A member of the girls’ field hockey team, Kendra P, thought hazing brought the team closer together. “I felt it brought our team closer together,” Kendra stated. “I think that it should be looked at as more of a team building activity and not as hazing. If people are not having fun or are not comfortable with it, it shouldn’t be done.” Similar to Mark M, she thought hazing is appropriate as long as players are agreeing to it.
So is hazing still happening? Yes it is. However, at WCI, hazing is a lot more subtle than in past years and is not intended to be intimidating or hurtful. Perhaps the question should not be about whether “hazing” is still happening but instead how team building is happening.