Rites of passage promote tradition, not destruction

Kelly Klein

Every school administrator will tell you that hazing is wrong—there’s no question about it.  Forcing newcomers of any sport, club, or organization to do anything as part of a “hazing ritual” is unacceptable.

However, there’s something about these kind of rituals that actually establishes a greater sense of pride and community at Redwood, which is definitely something we’re lacking in.

Recently, hazing events have caused suspensions across the country, such as the incident at Cornell University, involving underage drinking, that suspended the entire lacrosse team a couple weeks ago.

However, where’s the line between hazing and tradition?

Grade segregation seems to be a huge problem at Redwood: the seniors with whistles at the Back to School Dance, the varsity football team shaving their heads, and the competition between grades in Powder Puff football are all examples of this.

As a member of the tennis team my freshman year, us newbies were always required to pick up the tennis balls after practice.  Was it a pain?  Sure.  Did it cause me mental and physical damage?  Not at all.

It’s these kind of traditions that actually help a team bond and come together.  After your turn is up, you can watch the next people do the same routine, and the cycle begins.

Another school event that seems to provoke discussions is the competition between grades at the rallies.

While booing the underclassmen is an unsportsmanlike thing to do, I’ve found that most freshmen accept it and move on.  They’ll have the chance to give the next freshmen a hard time when they are upperclassmen, and they understand that.

It’s events like these that bring the school together in friendly competition that will promote more of a sense of school spirit.

At a big public school like Redwood, there will always be problems regarding the lack of cooperation felt on campus.

But one of the great things about this kind of school is the diverse and large amount of people we have and the amount of opportunities that are presented to be a part of so many unique teams, clubs, or organizations.

One way to build upon these experiences is having a tradition the newcomers go through in order to “officially” be a part of the team.

Obviously, it doesn’t have to be a routine that scars the freshmen for the rest of their lives, but administrators don’t realize that hazing isn’t necessarily harmful.

Instead, administrators should encourage traditions in teams for the beginning of the season or year, shaved heads, obnoxious whistles, and all.