‘Water Wars’: Why you shouldn’t participate


Ashley Morin, Managing Editor

Imagine having a water-gun fight with friends and other classmates toward the end of the high school year. You get a squad of some friends, play against other teams, and in the past, there’s even been cash prizes! Seems like a great idea, full of fun and good memories, but usually it’s just a recipe for disaster.

See, “Water Wars” is a kind of high school ‘tradition’ of sorts where students from many schools participate in a big water-fight extended over several weeks with mainly seniors, some juniors, and has seen some sophomores as well. Year after year, Water Wars starts out with good intentions, but results in tons of cheating, doxing, and even a few  injuries as a result of this game; it’s not the fault of who is running it, but the game itself. ‘Doxing’ with those who aren’t familiar with the term is basically the practice of broadcasting private or identifying information about an individual or organization. The methods employed to acquire this information include searching publicly available databases and social media websites, hacking, and social engineering.

Obviously, in the case of Water Wars, that asking one of your friends to rat out another’s home address so they can throw water balloons or fire squirt-guns at them. “Think about if you just posted someone’s address onto Twitter – they’d be a bit up in arms about that, because it’s literally illegal.”  Senior Seth Asher said. Yes, giving out addresses to just schoolmates seems different; it’s not like broadcasting it to the whole world, but it could always be used for malicious intent, and that’s why it isn’t worth it. People in the game use that information to sit outside of people’s houses and wait for them to come out, to shoot them or hit them with water in some other way to get them out of the game, and if it weren’t a game that sounds like a behavior of a stalker. If you’re giving out someone’s home address, his or her  private information, most likely without permission, that’s doxing, “so why would camping outside of someone’s house to shoot them with a water gun be any different.” Asher added.

See, ethics usually become skewed when money or glory is on the line, giving away people’s home address, chasing after them in cars, and waiting outside another’s house is potentially dangerous or even creepy behaviors. Doxing people is a  scummy thing to do, game or not.

Every year there’s always accusations and even real cases of cheating in the game, people not playing by the rules or not giving evidence of them getting out another player. Cheating always happens in games and it’s never fun, and sadly, it’s pretty easy to cheat in water wars so why willingly participate?

Last year resulted in major controversy because there had to be a tie-breaker, typically the tie-breakers are fun and pretty neutral. A game of basketball, and in the past a 6-on-6 Deathmatch with the two remaining teams; however, it didn’t blow over well.

Accusations came out about the money that was meant to be awarded by the end of the game. People accusing the student running it of stealing it all for themselves, you’d think after all that, people wouldn’t want to play; however, we’ve seen that’s not the case, and this year, it’s gotten worse.

Justyn Paolucci, while playing late at night with a friend at Northern, the two blocked a park-road when no one was there. The target was a sophomore who Paolucci’s friend was gunning for, and the unnamed sophomore in an attempt to get away was in his car and did something completely inexcusable and incredibly dangerous. “This guy could’ve gone around me, but he decided to stop, look at me dead in the eyes and just ran right into my leg [with their car]”

Afterwards the sophomore had the nerve to be upset from his car being dented as a result of what had happened, and then drove away like an irresponsible, cowardly kid. This is exactly the kind of selfishness and stupidity that ruins good things for other people, it’s exactly what’s ruining ‘Water wars.’

Water Wars used to be a fun tradition for Milford and other schools like it; it came around with a good intent, a last hurrah almost for the seniors who are about to leave and enter ‘the real world.’ Though like many things, there’s always select individuals who ruin the fun for everyone else. It’s sad, but students need to think before they participate in Water Wars, because you can either have a really good time, or get hit by a car.