by Matias Grotewold, ’13

Tradition of senior tag continues despite controversy regarding amended dress code

Water guns? Check. One tucked in the waistband, another in the glove compartment.

Water balloons? Check. A whole trunk of balloons primed and ready to be thrown at the targets.

Bathing suit? Check. Stripping down to nothing but a bathing suit is the only way to avoid elimination when attacked.

Spring has brought way to an epic, city-wide battle of senior tag. Squads of 17- and 18-year-olds hunt their targets, stalking them on their way home or catching them unaware in a parking lot. Paranoia slowly creeps in as contestants cautiously walk out of their houses each morning, and at any moment the hunter can become the hunted.

Organized this year by senior Davey Strahm with an entrance fee of $10 per person, the tradition of Senior Tag continues. However, controversy has emerged concerning the attire permitted for respective genders. Strahm believed that allowing girls to wear any shorts was unfair to the male players involved.

“The shorts that girls can wear are a lot more restricted. Last year girls could be in basically any type of short, but that just wasn’t fair to the guys who had to wear bathing suits,” Strahm said. “I mean, here [at UAHS] there’s a huge discussion about girls wearing shorts, but at [Dublin] Jerome the whole discussion is about being naked. I think we can definitely take the competition up a notch and allow less exceptions to the bathing suit rule.”

Sean Ng, currently a senior at UAHS but formerly a student at Dublin Jerome High School, said that, until recently, players at Jerome had to be naked to be considered safe.

seniortagrules“It was basically the same rules, but you had to be naked,” Ng said. “I remember kids would show up to school with bathrobes or just a sock. It seemed a lot more intense that way.”

While nudity would add to the difficulty and competitiveness of the game, public nudity is not permitted in the vast majority of the country. When Strahm originally wrote the rules, only bathing suits were permitted and girls could not wear any sort of shorts. However, many girls, such as senior Gabrielle Whitcomb, felt that was discriminatory.

“Boys can walk around wearing bathing suit bottoms as shorts and then all they have to take off are their shirts,” Whitcomb said. “[But] girls do not have the luxury of walking around in their bathing suits so they have to take off [more clothes] which would take more time.”

When Strahm announced the rule saying that girls could not wear shorts, there was an uproar from female contestants. After much deliberation, it was finally decided that girls are permitted to wear swim shorts but no jean shorts or other type of material.

According to Strahm, over 120 seniors chose to participate in this years’ competition. In a Facebook poll, more than 50 girls voted in favor of wearing shorts.

Under intense pressure from a number of female participants, as well as the results of the vote, Strahm chose to allow girls to wear an equivalent of swim shorts similar to athletic shorts.

“I just didn’t want people to keep arguing about the shorts so I found a compromise,” Strahm said. “It’s always been a fun activity so we’re [going to] keep it that way.”

splashOn Sunday April 21, Strahm randomly selected each team’s target and contacted the participants with their assignments. The following day, the first contestants began showing up to school in bathing suits, the first reports of players tagged were phoned in and the game began.