Unhealthy Competition, Melodramatic Ballads Still Going Strong at Summer Camp

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This is Wikipedia's stock image for "Summer Camp."
This is Wikipedia's stock image for "Summer Camp." Photo: Summer Camp/Wikipedia

Little has changed about Color War, that ancient summer-camp ritual, according to the Times this weekend. At Camp Wah-Nee in Connecticut, where a Times writer embedded herself for the "four-day blitz of competition," Color War is still tough on the psyche, but warm to the soul. For example, here's a scene from a seemingly innocent game of Color War baseball at Wah-Nee:


Joe spun around and raced back, but was tagged out before he got to the bag. He looked at the counselor, betrayed. 'You shouldn’t have told me to do that!' he called, his eyes welling with tears. 'It’s all your fault, Danny!'

Oh, the sting of first defeat! So strong at summer camp. But mostly this piece just reminded us how utterly ridiculous those ballads that they make campers sing are:


'Striving to remain unchanged / Want to stay right where we are / The heartache that you can’t escape / Value the power of the last embrace.' Natalie Ury, a Red lieutenant, and Jaclyn Cohen, another counselor, had spent days crafting those words for their alma mater, to the tune of the Verve Pipe’s 'The Freshmen.' Only when the goosebumps came did they know they had a keeper.

Chilling, indeed.

Red vs. White [NYT]

Related: Visiting Day [NYM]