With elaborate chase scenes unfolding around campus, Phillips Academy may look like the set of a Hollywood action movie. Rather than big-name actors, the script features Seniors involved in a class-wide game of Elimination by Spooning. The Blue Key Society and Spooning Tsar Will Scharf ’04 organized the game, the ultimate objective of which Scharf described as “to be the last person who has not been eliminated.” All Seniors received their own specially labelled plastic spoons. When tagged, they have to give their spoon to the tagger. The tagged person’s target becomes the tagger’s new target. If the tagged person has accumulated more than one spoon, the tagger takes all of the spoons. Seniors are resorting to extreme measures to avoid “death” and capture their targets. Sam duPont ’04 even recommends to participants, “If you really want to coordinate a decisive assassination, wireless transmission devices must be utilized to ensure a swift and brutal fatality.” To help his dormmate Anthony Roldan ’04 spoon target Eric Mitzenmacher ’04, Matthew Garza ’04 positioned himself and his two-way radio on the second floor of the Gelb Science Center, where he had a clear view of Salem Street, CAMD, Commons, and Sam Phil. When he saw Mitzenmacher approaching Gelb, he informed Roldan via wireless earpiece. “Anthony ran out and successfully spooned Eric,” said Garza. Other Seniors have also taken extreme measures to spoon their classmates. In pursuit of Livy Coe ’04, Fan Wang ’04 chased him out of their Comparative Government class in Sam Phil to Commons despite the fact that his sandals came undone. Once inside Commons, a safe zone, Wang noticed that his socks had turned black and his feet were so cold he could not feel them anymore. Over 300 spoons taped with both the spooner’s and target’s names were distributed via student mailboxes on Friday, and the game began at 8:00 a.m. on Monday. The game, an adaptation of the version played at the Cate School in Southern California, was first brought to the Andover community in the 1980’s by students of the Academy’s Math and Science for Minority Students program. Using different rules, Abbot Cluster Dean Albert Cauz introduced the game to Andover’s regularly attending students. To test the rules and ensure the basic system worked, Mr. Cauz ran two practice games with the Abbot Blue Keys and the Pine Knoll Blue Keys late last spring. Immediately after tagging a player, the tagger must send an e-mail to the Spooning Tsar. The insides of all academic buildings, dormitories, the Chapel, Commons, the entire Gym, dance studios, theaters, and classrooms as designated Safety Zones and therefore out of bounds. The game may not be played during any academic, athletic, or musical commitments or during required meetings such as advising, College Counseling, and ASM. For a tag to be legitimate, at least one witness must watch the tagging. In addition, no physical or psychological coercion can be used to lure other players outside the Safety Zones. “The tagging consists of a light tap on the body,” Scharf said. “No whacking, smacking, or jabbing. Chasing is not allowed on the stairways or through buildings. The point of this game is not chasing, it’s stealth.”
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