Every Friday night during the school year, a group of nerds gets together at Jennings hall for a massive Nerf war. Since I never went to one during my freshman year, I decided to go on Friday. It didn’t disappoint.
Playing Nerf at my best friend’s house is one of my fondest childhood memories. We didn’t play very often, but once every few months we’d convince his dad to pull the equipment out from the top of the closet and have a giant Nerf battle. Despite how much I enjoyed it as a kid, though, I hadn’t fired a Nerf gun in nearly a decade before Friday night.
Needless to say, I didn’t own a Nerf gun. I fully expected to have to pay 20 bucks for any decent gun at Wal-Mart. To my surprise, though, Goodwill had about half-a-dozen Nerf products in stock for two bucks apiece. I was able to walk out with three pistols, a ninja dart blower, a hand grenade that my roommate later assured me wasn’t Nerf-legal, and a vest with enough pockets to fit everything I bought – plus darts – all for $14.
When I arrived on Friday, though, I immediately realized that cheaper was not necessarily better. I arrived ten minutes early to find a group of three or four freshmen with rifles that were nearly as tall as me standing up. One of them was pleading with the guy who I assumed was in charge to let him use the 5-by-5 ft. cardboard shield that he had already taped to his arm.
I assume the admin recognized that I was new based on the confused look on my face and my pathetically puny pistols. He dismissed Shieldman and introduced himself.
“Hey, I’m Charlie. Have you signed the waiver yet?”
I probably shouldn’t have assumed he was joking, but to be fair, these “projectiles” are literally half-ounce pieces of foam traveling at 10 miles per hour.
He stared at me, dead-eyed.
“Wait, you’re joking, right?”
“The waiver is in the lounge on the table.”
After I signed the waiver, I went out to the hall to get a feel for my pistols. The freshmen riflemen bounced their darts off the steel doors with ease from nearly halfway across the 150 ft. hallway. I confidently shot toward the same doors only to watch my dart flutter to the carpeted floor about 7 yards ahead of me. I knew I was in for a long night.
The first game was a team deathmatch. After a 15 minute standoff, I was sent upstairs first to draw fire since my weapons were so pitiful. Fortunately, I was able to pick up a modified pistol no one was using before the second game.
The second game was zombies, and the zombies can respawn. So, ultimately, everyone loses; the goal is just to survive as long as you can. I hid in an elevator with four other guys, all of us armed with two guns pointed at the door, ready to fire when it opened.
After 20 minutes of waiting, we discovered that five guys trapped in an elevator stood absolutely no chance against a dozen zombies rushing in (that probably should’ve been obvious). I also discovered that my ninja dart blower from Goodwill is a lot cooler in theory than it is in practice (and yes, I realize it’s already pretty lame in theory).
Despite being entirely unprepared and failing at almost every game, I plan to be there again this Friday.