Snowball Fights

Snowball Fights

There are few times when a kid can throw a projectile at someone without admonishment. Once a sufficient blanket of snow has fallen, however, the rules change. The potential for war looms behind thick trees and parked cars and any other place that offers momentary cover. Attacks come with no warning, nor mercy. Negotiations are futile, retribution is a no-brainer. Let’s face it – it wouldn’t be winter without a snowball fight.

The snowball fight is a time-honored tradition among those who are lucky (or unlucky) enough to live in regions susceptible to icy precipitation. There are few rules, no age limits, and just about any location can serve as fields of war. The object, put quite simply, is to pelt your opponent(s) with reckless abandon, while trying to fend off their attacks.

As any experienced warrior can attest, the most important factor is how well the snow packs into a ball. Too powdery, and the projectiles will break apart mid-flight. Too icy, and the potential for inflicting pain increases exponentially. But when the snow is just that right consistency to shape a perfect baseball-sized sphere, the temptation for war becomes irresistible.

In the traditional snowball fight, both sides are given a certain amount of time to build up their munitions, carefully stacking each snowball in formations that resemble a stack of cannonballs. This is the crucial initial supply and it needs to be plentiful. For once these piles are exhausted, one has to create new snowballs on the fly, and that means taking your attention off of the enemy and therefore inviting a perfect opportunity for a counterstrike.

An unwritten rule suggests that one stay away from throwing at an opponent’s unprotected face, but secretly, we all know that this was the most coveted of targets, the one most likely to elicit a high-pitched shriek. One never forgets the first time a sphere of ice hits them square in the mug.

Snowball fights, for the most part, are all in good fun – one of those cherished childhood rituals that kids living in snow country eagerly anticipate with a sort of sadistic glee. And even the most hardened adult, when faced with a blanket of freshly fallen show, has to fight the primal urge to dig those gloves into the snow and see how well it packs. Not that they would ever give into such childish temptation. Yeah, right.

Do you have any particularly memorable battles to share? Were you plummeted mercilessly on the walk home from school and lived to tell the tale? Or was it your younger sibling who was forced to seek shelter at the first signs of icy precipitation? Perhaps you just remember that unmistakable sting when getting struck squarely in the jaw, often with no warning whatsoever? Share your stories in our comments section as we pay tribute to this timeless winter tradition.

2 Responses to “Snowball Fights”

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  1. Jennifer harris says:

    I never got into a snowball fight.

  2. Emily says:

    Both elementary schools I went to (I switched schools in grade five due to bullying) forbade students from throwing snowballs altogether, let alone at one another. I know that some schools painted targets on the outside walls of the building for this purpose, but we didn’t even have that. In any case, I wasn’t much for snowballs–I preferred to play on the snow hill (actually just a big snow bank from the blacktop being plowed before we arrived at school), or, when I was older, and it wasn’t “cool” to wear snow pants anymore (required for the snow hill), I liked to run and slide on the ice that’d build up on the pavement. Yes, it was dangerous, and it was rare to go a day (or even a recess) without some kid falling, and possibly getting hurt, but it was still fun.

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