I have no doubt that you’ve all walked down Washington Road, seen a teenager, and thought to yourself, “What’s that ridiculous fork behind her ear?” To that I say, it’s not a fork—it’s a spork.
Ridiculous as they seem, this multi-purpose, fork/spoon crossover is taken very seriously by the seniors at Mt. Lebanon High School. The game, called simply “Sporks” (we’re a creative bunch), begins in September and runs until June. Governed by two fellow seniors and a 22-point-long rule list, the premise of the game is relatively simple. Toss $5 into the kitty to start. Every two weeks, participating students are assigned another student and they have to get them out of the game by physically poking them with a spork. There are two ways that a student is eligible to get out: 1) Their spork is not in either their hand, mouth, or behind their ear or 2) They are holding two sporks at once. Students are nothing short of sly when it comes to the second condition. I’ve heard of math partners taping sporks to the bottom of calculators or students planting sporks inside water bottles. I know stories of kids waiting in the bushes outside of houses, and even a case of breaking and entering. Let’s just say that some students will stop at nothing to eliminate their target. The winners split the money, but it’s not about that. It’s mostly about the glory.
The competition is fierce to say the least. It makes sense then why we are so dedicated when it comes to carrying our sporks. In fact, I’m rather obsessive about it. (So obsessive that I even bring it with me when we go out of town. There could Lebo kids all over Meadville or Cleveland! Probably not. But you can never be too safe). When I first started, I went through a mental checklist before I left the house: “Wallet? Check. Keys? Check. Spork? Check.” It’s gotten to the point, though, that I don’t even need a reminder. It’s just a reflex. On the rare occasion I do forget it, I have back-ups stashed just about everywhere: One in each of my coat’s pockets, one in the car, and about a thousand in my backpack. I’ve made it so that there is a higher chance of the Pirates winning the World Series than me being caught without a spork.
By the time senior year rolls around, every student has basically mastered the skill of putting off homework until it absolutely needs to be done (yes, it is a skill), and many students use decorating their sporks as a means to do this. I guarantee that each player–even the boys–has decorated a spork at one point. I picked out some of my favorites from around school:
So the next time you see a teenager walking down Washington Road with a ridiculous looking spork behind an ear, appreciate the dedication. And, if it’s anyone but me, I ask that you wish them sweet failure, because I am winning this game.
Thanks to Gabe DeRose, Sarah Hill, Nate Bateman, and Christa Federico for the pictures