Grade Nine = Minor Niner!

Published On September 5, 2017 | By Matt McNeill | Afternoons

Welcome back from the Labor Day long weekend!
The kids are back to school, and it seems like we’ve got a bumper crop of Grade Nine Freshmen
this year. More than usual. (What’s in been, 14 years since the big power outage…. coincidence?)
Sending the kids off to High School on their first day is a big deal. It’s next-level.
But is it easier on kids today – with the all out bans on hazing?
You don’t seem hear a whole lot about freshman initiations anymore.

(Warning on some salty language. Dazed & Confused = great movie)

For you and I though – we have epic tales for our grand- kids no doubt.
In fact… The high school I went to (The now-closed PCVS in Peterborough Ontario)
seemed to actively SUPPORT freshman hazing during the early 90’s, or “orientation”
as they called it.

This is me in Grade Nine baby, this is me in Grade Nine!

Day 1: Homeroom (Gr.9 Science)
– After the national anthem, in stormed a herd of Grade 13’s
(remember OAC?)  with super soakers and magic markers.
“Everybody – Welcome to PCVS!”
After emptying their water guns on every student (while the teacher laughed and shook her head) and drawing on the faces of  a good 1/3 of us – the seniors refilled their tanks  at the sinks on our science-desks – and stormed over to the next classroom.

I walked home with 9’s  drawn on both cheeks, drawn on glasses, mustache and “Minor 9’er” across my forehead.
No amount of Clearasol could scrub off the marker.

It was still there for “Orientation Day” on Friday where freshmen were marched out to
Nichols Field and shot — with water ballons.. although every 3rd or 4th was filled with oatmeal
and honey. There were obstacle courses and hazing stations, like holding a whip cream covered
balloon in your mouth while another shaved the balloon w/ a razor.
And something about passing a lifesaver candy down the line with your mouth and a toothpick.

This is purely a stream of consciousness by this point, as I’m recalling now what were clearly
formerly repressed memories.. and there was one station where you had to lie on the ground while another stood on a ladder with a bowl of chocolate pudding and try and drop a ladle-full of pudding into your open mouth.

Our magic marker was freshened up – and then the freshmen were turned loose to stink up the school busses on our long ride home. Except for the football players.  I’d made the team (3rd string, baby!) and the combination of sweat, shaving cream, whipped cream, oatmeal and chocolate pudding.. not tomention an ungodly amount of Dep hair gel  – not only stunk my helmet to high heaven
for the rest of the season.. It also stung something fierce as  it ran into  the eyes.
The stench of our freshman line was very vomit-like as dairy and sweat and teenage body odor
radiated in fetid waves towards our intimidated opposition in what was our very first
exhibition scrimmage with Kenner Collegiate.









This of course is long before I grew to become the football star (but not starter) that
I was back in that one year before I changed cities and had to start over again.
It could have had something to do with the adorable photos of holding a kitten in football
gear while reading the Sunday funnies in the kitchen – at home.  Anyway….
And at this point, my grand-kids will have wandered off from my story to play video games
or rock em sock em robots.. or whatever kids will be doing in future days…

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