Friday, June 5, 2009

The Allure of a Dunking Booth (and the Evident Masochism of Human Nature)

Today was Field Day at my school. It seemed that lots of fun was had by all (including me).

I ended up supervising the dunking booth (all staff had a "station", and the word was you'd get assigned perimeter duty if you didn't volunteer for something). What this ended up meaning is that I was the first person sitting on the platform of the dunking booth ... and, consequently, the first person to get dunked.

Now, I love the water. I've been swimming in the New Hampshire Atlantic twice already this year and had my feet in Lake Winnapesaukee in early March. The idea of being dunked didn't bother me, nor did the dunking itself. Truthfully, none of it bothered me, per se. It was just ... odd to see a certain side of human nature.

What does it say about humanity when people come in droves and line up to throw a ball at a little tiny target for the sole purpose of knocking someone into a big bucket of freezing cold water?

It was kind of funny, actually. I forgot my contact lenses in the car (I was running VERY late this morning, so I figured I'd just pop them in when I got to school, but I had morning duty so I had to be there earlier than usual, then my gas light came on so I had to stop and get gas ... yeah, one of those mornings), so I ended up wearing my (rather expensive Ralph Lauren) glasses onto the dunking platform. They flew off on the first "dunk", and I had to fish them out with my foot. I gave them to a kid to put on my backpack, which he kindly did, then I realized that some of the kids were giving me a hard time for not going under when I got dunked (I'm 5'2", so it's not like I wasn't pretty much soaked). Well, the next four times I got dunked, you'd better believe I went fully under : )

Then my supervising colleague had a turn so I could warm up, then I went back up so she could warm up, and so on. We finally got enough other teachers to brave the dunking platform so we could both actually get changed out of our "dunking attire" and stuff. That water was freezing, and it wasn't exactly warm in New Hampshire today.

This probably sounds like I'm complaining, but I'm honestly not. I had a fabulous time today, a great chance to relax with my students, my colleagues, and my friends. I enjoyed being in the dunking booth, but the ferocity and intensity that some (of all ages) brought to the task at hand was just ... odd.

Anyway, what do you think the allure of a dunking booth is? Do you think it would be entertaining to cause another person discomfort if it's in the name of fun? Would you ever go into a dunking booth : )?