Last June, former Spork Game runner Catherine Nicoli went to Camille Konrad’s house to drop off some clothes — along with a box of roughly 900 sporks. Nicoli told Konrad that she could either run the game or give the box to someone else.
That box of sporks sat in Konrad’s closet for months until she was able to hold the distinguished position of Spork Game-runner this February.
“I feel good that we’re able to carry on tradition,” Konrad said, whose sister also participated in the Spork Game four years ago as a senior.
The basic structure of the Spork Game is that seniors buy their own spork from the game runner, who creates a money pool. Competitors must hold onto their sporks at all times. A senior may poke another senior with their spork if they catch someone not holding onto their spork. This action of getting someone out is often called “sporking” and being “sporked” takes you out of the running for prize money.
The last one standing by graduation rehearsal gets to win the prize money. If there are multiple competitors left, they must divide the money pool evenly: this becomes an incentive for students to creatively spork other competitors for bigger prize money.
Although it is unclear of the exact year the Spork Game started, it has been a more recent tradition, according to math teacher Anne Thomas, and rules have changed throughout the years. For example, a rule implemented in the past two years has been no sporking at work.
Some seniors, like Eric Hughes, are less bothered by the aspect of privacy invasion and more concerned by the time and effort it takes to hold a spork for months on end.
“I think it’s a stupid gimmick that isn’t worth my time or my money or my effort,” senior Eric Hughes said, who is not playing the game.
“It’s five bucks,” Hughes’ friend Ben Clingenpeel – a player in the game – responded.
Not only are students deciding whether to participate or not, but many teachers are debating whether or not to allow sporking to ensue in their classrooms, otherwise known as “spork-free zones.” Math teacher Anne Thomas found herself on the fence this year when deciding to have her room be spork-free or not.
“There’s a part of me that wants to not be spork-free because that way maybe students would get each other out sooner,” Thomas said. “But I also want students to be able to focus on learning. So I’m not sure what the right thing to do is.”
English teacher Judith DeWoskin plans on making her class “free reign” for the spork game.
“I frankly like stupid rituals and traditions,” DeWoskin said. “I think they have a way of marking a class for bonding and humor and affection. Some people kill each other, but that’s fair game.”
Thomas, however, does not share those sentiments.
“I’m sorry, I hate it so much,” she said.
Jonathan Thomas-Palmer, who teaches the senior-heavy FOS 4 Physics class, holds a spork-free room after initial experiences with sporking that resulted in students injuring themselves. Thomas-Palmer remembers a specific incident where a student fell out of a chair and began bleeding during spork gameplay.
Besides the antics of the Spork Game, it has become a rite of passage for many seniors leaving the school in less than a semester. The ending of the Spork Game will be graduation rehearsal for the senior class.
For now, you can find who has been “sporked” on the Spork Twitter throughout the year. If there are any updates on sporking, Konrad asks that people send messages to the Spork Twitter, or fellow senior Claire Middleton and Konrad herself.