Confession #3

I have been the recipient of a successful atomic wedgie.

It was my sophomore year in high school. I was a starter on my school’s soccer team back then, and we had just finished one of our many away games.  The night had been almost perfect for me—the crisp night air, the perfectly manicured grass, the bright lights illuminating the field as if it were the most important soccer field in the world.  I scored my first varsity goal that night and narrowly missed another.

As one of the few sophomores on the team, I was usually segregated from the older players on the bus ride home, but on that night I truly felt like part of them as I listened and laughed at their jokes and stories.  As the bus drew near to our school, I noticed that some of the guys were changing seats, circling around Jared, our goalkeeper.  I giggled to myself, thinking that they were going to jump him for letting in a goal that night.

Boy was I wrong.

Someone behind me gave the signal, and all of a sudden Jared and a couple other guys pounced on me.  I quickly curled into a tight, protective ball, realizing that they were initiating me for scoring my first goal.  It was then that I felt my underwear being pulled completely over my head. No joke. I could feel the cotton grinding against my skin, the elastic snapping against my forehead.  This only lasted for a second, because the elastic couldn’t hold any longer, and it broke off into Jared’s hands.  I opened my eyes, took my underwear back, shook Jared’s outstretched hand (to assure him that I enjoyed the wedgie? I have no idea), and received a few friendly pats on the back from the rest of the team as they congratulated me on scoring my first goal.

I’m still bewildered by bizarre initiation rituals, and looking back, I’m particularly amazed at the elasticity of my tightie whities.  But at the time, I definitely did not appreciate that.  I was so embarrassed.  In no way did I feel closer to my teammates than before.

To this day, I don’t understand or condone initiation rituals. I didn’t treat the younger players on the soccer team as I had been treated, and in college I stayed away from frats (an institution with a foundation seemingly built on cycles of initiation). Such rituals just seem like a good excuse to ridicule people–just because you had it done to you doesn’t mean you have to do it to somebody else.

Have any of you been subject to initiation rituals? Or, specifically, atomic wedgies? What’s your take on them?

Read my previous confession about how I don’t like surprises–to the extreme.