Every year on campus, there seems to be an increase in both water guns and paranoia in the spring. The reason? Shenanigans.
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Shenanigans is a sponsored by Reformed University Fellowship (RUF) each spring. All players are assigned a target and 72 hours to find the target and shoot them with a water gun while avoiding whoever is coming after them.
Because you only know your target and not who is chasing after you, many players live in fear and take drastic measures to avoid death by water.
Communication Disorders senior Mary Elizabeth Haynes is a veteran of Shenanigans and 2012 champion.
“The most paranoid I’ve ever been was when I was sitting in a random, empty classroom in Haley studying for a test and when I got text messages where they knew what I was doing and where I was,” said Haynes. “That was the first day of the game, I almost cried. It was so scary.”
Although Shenanigans is an intense game full of alliances, lies and secrets, it is also a fun time of adrenaline rushes and scheming and plotting the elimination of other players and friends.
“My favorite thing about Shenanigans is the adrenaline rush when I see my target or hunter on campus, but I also enjoy trying to figure out who is after me. I felt like I was on a crime scene show,” said Haynes.
Some years, more than 175 people are entered into the game, and the giant circle of targets is massive and near impossible to figure out who is after whom. Slowly, the huge mystery of a chain is dwindled down until two players remain.
Drastic measures are taken each year by players who strive for stealth and mystery during the Shenanigans season. It is common for players to sleep in their cars, change their routes to class, skip class or even sit on bathroom toilets for hours.
“The most drastic story for me was when we pretended our car was breaking down at Mama G’s. We called my target and shrieked with fear and panic,” said Haynes. “We saw him sprinting down to help us, but when he got there I jumped out and killed him. He truly thought we were in danger.”
The stories from victims are countless, but one story stands above the rest: the legend of Jake Howell.
“I was already dead this year, but my apartment was a safe haven in our friend group for those still alive, and everyone was sitting in our apartment with doors locked,” said Haynes. “Jake Howell breaks into our window dressed in all black, runs from the back hallway into the main room and shoots my sister twice between the eyes and scurried out. The whole process took around 15 seconds, but it felt like a blink.”
That kind of dedication is necessary to win Shenanigans out of the hundreds that attempt each year. Winning Shenanigans is a prideful moment that takes enormous amount of skill along with a little luck.
“It’s a game of luck. You have to have some skill, but I don’t pretend to be good. I changed my route to class everyday and also it helps that I am a quadruplet. The lies of my sisters and brother kept me alive many times,” said Haynes. “Be cautious. Change your route to class. Listen to anything anyone wants to tell you, but be discerning. Be careful about what you reveal. Listen to everything, but don’t say anything. Play dumb.”