The Hazing Of Yesteryear … And Today
Posted on 12.13.16 by Danny Glover @ 11:56 am

Back in the day, the Paden City High School band engaged in hazing by assigning freshman “slaves” to seniors during the week of “band camp,” which occurred at Bethany College in West Virginia. We boys not only had to dress as women but had to march in costume, including pantyhose and water balloons in our bras.

We also had to wear dog biscuits on strings around our necks and eat them at our masters’ command. And we had to go through a gauntlet of humiliation one evening, where all of the seniors dumped molasses on the freshmen and put us through other trials. We didn’t know what was coming because we were all blindfolded. I remember washing my hair with Coca-Cola every night of my freshman year to try to get all of the gunk out of it.

All of this occurred with adult consent and supervision. No parents objected. It was all considered perfectly normal. The tradition went on for years until someone crossed a line that brought an abrupt and merciful end to it. I heard that Bethany officials intervened because of the way one particular freshman was forced to dress and walk through the shared cafeteria, but maybe that was just the band camp equivalent of an urban legend.

It was always a bit ironic that this behavior happened on the campus of a “Christian liberal arts college.”

I didn’t realize until today that the “adults” in Major League Baseball had been engaging in and tolerating similar hazing:

Exactly when the annual dress-up day began around the majors isn’t quite clear. Players often considered it a form of bonding, and it’s become more and more of a production in recent years.

Chase Headley and San Diego Padres newcomers wore the skimpy, shiny orange shorts and tight, white tops of Hooters servers for a September 2008 flight from Denver to Washington. … Other past costumes that would be allowed include San Francisco ace Madison Bumgarner as a giant ketchup bottle, Miami slugger Giancarlo Stanton on the U.S. Olympic men’s water polo team and Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig as Gumby.

… Last September, the New York Mets posted photos and video of players going to Starbucks in Philadelphia wearing uniforms from the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League, as portrayed in the 1992 movie A League of Their Own. Several other teams engaged in similar behavior.

In 2012, Harper and Nationals newcomers wore red leotards in the style of Gabby Douglas and the U.S. women’s gymnastics team for a train ride to New York — veteran Washington pitcher Gio Gonzalez tweeted a photo.

In 2007, the Yankees’ theme was The Wizard of Oz. Ian Kennedy wore Dorothy’s ruby red slippers for a flight from New York to Tampa. “I’d rather be here dressing up than anywhere else,” Kennedy said at the time. “It makes you feel like one of the guys.”

Now those practices have been halted. “Times have changed,” players’ union general counsel Dave Prouty. “There is certain conduct that we have to be conscious of.”

Welcome to the 21st century, athletes of America!


Filed under: Culture and Education and News & Politics and Sports
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