The truth is, people play pranks on other people all the time. I’m not a complete idiot – I know it goes on. I’ve been the victim of a few pranks and practical jokes in my day. I just never understood how it was functional, in the sense that it “brought people closer together.”
I remember one time, back in my college dorm days (which wasn’t that long ago, to be honest), when my dormmates decided to pull a prank on me. The truth is, it was pretty tame, and it was on the heels of April Fool’s day. I had been away at home for the weekend, and I was in a foul mood – don’t ask why. All I wanted to do was come back to the dorm, and relax. I come into my room only to find what appeared to be dirty magazines and a “used condom” on my bed.
Needless to say, considering my mood, I was freaking furious. I go off on whoever was in the common room, flipping out on them, storming off and slamming the door to my room behind me. The last thing I hear from one of my roommates: “It was just a joke!”
Ashamed and embarrassed, I later apologized. I even wrote a note to them, to make it official.
Now, why did I just tell you that less-than-interesting anecdote? To get to my main point: an overlooked story I found earlier today about one Coye Francies of the Cleveland Browns.
The same kind of thing happened to the rookie from Sacramento, CA, a cornerback out of San Jose State. A bunch of his teammates decided to throw buckets of water on him, as a show of rookie hazing. His reaction? Storming into the locker room, throwing a bucket of ice at his teammates, and attempting to attack teammate Abram Elam, before being held back by DT Shaun Rogers. He later apologized, calling the incident “just fun and games … we were just playing around.”
So, obviously, I feel for the guy. He snapped, and now he’s getting reamed for it, in the eyes of his teammates, the public and the media (which, by the way – why is it that we’re talking about this? Was this honestly ESPN-news-worthy? But, I digress). Just because of a momentary loss of control and “common sense”, this guy’s gonna be criticized? I don’t see the sense in that.
But, more than that, I think I need to address this little issue: what is the point of hazing? Again, I don’t presume to know the true value of hazing, especially in sports teams and all that. I just think, from the standpoint of a guy with a sense of pride, you wouldn’t stand for it. That was my gut reaction when I snapped at my roommates that day, and I’m sure that was Coye Francies’ reaction that day in the locker room.
People who have gone through hazing, you can tell me the same old lines – “It’s just a joke,” “Everyone’s gotta go through it,” “It’s not that big of a deal,” “Get over yourself,” Blah blah blah. Seriously – why is this such an accepted ritual in our society’s locker rooms and college campuses? The use of humiliation for the purpose of bonding? Honestly – and I’ll accept the fact that this could just be me – I just don’t get it. It’s probably just one of my own pet peeves, but the fact that we, as a society, not only accept this practice as NORMAL, but think it is in bad form – or even a social SIN – to react negatively toward it, is almost mind-boggling. I think it’s ABNORMAL if you don’t. But again, that’s just me.
Because, hey – I apologized, right? So did Francies. Because we all have bought into the notion that, if you react negatively toward a prank, it’s looked down upon. Call me crazy, but even though I bought into it, don’t think for a second I willingly accept it.
Well, thank goodness I’m not an athlete, then, I suppose.