COLOR WAR 2018: Intense competition, shortcuts and penalties, a hard-boiled egg genius and a senior three-peat make it memorable
April 3, 2018
These stories appeared in the Boiling Point’s Issue 4, in early March, less than two weeks after Color War ended, but we are just posting them now to our website. We delayed uploading this content as a sign of respect for the victims and survivors of the gun attack at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
Color War broke out Feb. 20, just a few days after the shooting took place, and many were still processing the horrific event while playing silly competitions. We have focused our coverage on the students from MSD who have spoken to Shalhevet students and faculty on two different occasions since the shooting, along with the security review at our school, the walkout on March 14, and other updates.
Because we are committed to reporting what is happening in our community truthfully, we took a different approach in our March print edition, where a schoolwide security meeting was the lead story that ran alongside photos of the Egg Roulette competition in Color War on Page 1. Some of our readers were confused, even critical, about our decision to place the serious story with silly photos. But the reality was these two things happened almost simultaneously, and the next print paper was weeks away.
While the consequences of the Feb. 14 shooting will be never be entirely in the past, after having thoroughly covered that event, we believe it is now appropriate to post our coverage of Color War.
— Hannah Jannol, Editor-in-Chief
For many students, Color War is the highlight of the school year; for everyone it’s the most elaborate of any schoolwide actiivty. This year it was even longer than last, running from from 3:30 pm Tuesday until 8:30 pm Thursday, Feb. 20 – 22.
Teams were made up of all the students in each grade. Freshman wore black, sophomores wore green, juniors sported red and the senior class of 2018 donned purple. They wore it not only in their clothes but also on their faces with paint, in their hair with colored spray and any other way they could find to express pride for their team.
All day Wednesday and Thursday, the grades competed against each other in a myriad of competitions, vying for an overall first place title. This year’s seniors, the class of 2018, had won it last year and the year before, so everyone’s drive to win was intense.
Events ranged from the fast-paced Apache Race to quirky games like the Egg Roulette and Hungry Hungry Hippos, to less physical contests like the skit, “College Bowl,” an art competition and the team song. Four students from each grade were selected by the Student Activities Committee (SAC) to be team captains.
Numerous faculty members, led by Judaic Studies teacher Ms. Ilana Wilner, Student Activities Dean Dr. Jonathan Ravanshenas and SAC co-chairs Summer Gershon and Ariel Cohen, planned coordinated, and judged the events.
In the end, the seniors were said to have received the most points for the third year in a row. The sophomores came in second, the juniors came in third and the 9th grade came in last, officials reported.
As usual, there was some debate over who placed where and how. As in past years, point totals were not shared with students or The Boiling Point by the referees, who worried it might hurt the feelings of students who did not receive a lot of points and that they might then argue with the referees about it. So we can’t provide those details.
Still, one contest is the Boilnig Point Coverage competition, in which each team is assigned one event to cover. Some of the articles and photos in this issue were submitted for points — you can find them below, along with original editorials.
We hope you enjoy reliving this year’s Color War. And for the record, the seniors won the Coverage competition, and the freshmen came in second, according to Mrs. Keene, who judged it.
This story is a finalist for NSPA’s 2018 Digital Story of the Year in the category of Multimedia Sports Story Package.
Mysterious egg genius strikes again
In the middle of the second day of the Shalhevet Color War, three boys and three girls from each grade lined up to discover whether the egg they would smash on their head would be raw or hard boiled.
It was time for Egg Roulette.
Senior Ben Mashiach, who won the competition Feb. 22 for the third year in a row, said he could tell whether or not an egg had been cooked using only his eyes.
He was representing the Purple Team for the third time, and in all that time has never chosen an egg that turned out to be raw.
No one — including Ben — seems to be able to explain how he does it.
“It’s all sight,” Ben told the Boiling Point after his latest victory. “I just look at it, I get a vibe… [It’s] hard boiled and I smash it on my head.”
He said he has been using this tactic since the first time he won, in his sophomore year, and it has led him to win three straight egg roulette competitions.
He also said that the event was one of the best in Color War.
“Everyone’s there watching and it’s such a messy thing,” Ben said. “If you mess up, everyone’s going to laugh at you.”
According to Color War organizer and Judaic Studies teacher Ilana Wilner, out of 300 eggs set up on folding tables in the gym, 160 were hard-boiled and 140 were still raw.
She told students to point to the egg that they wanted to select, and then smash it on their heads. If the egg was hard boiled, the student would move on to the next round.
Students would come up anticipating whether the egg would be raw or hard boiled.
Freshman Josh Harrison and sophomores Ben-Tsion Oliel, Kikuyo Shaw, and Leah Golfiz were the first four out, leaving the table with yellow goo dripping down their faces and onto their shirts.
Sophomores Eliezer Lasry, Jacob Lefkowitz-Brooks and Caroline Edry all cracked eggs that were raw, sending them out of the tournament while gaining laughs from the crowd. The sophomores were now of contention for the win.
Freshman Samson Taxon then smashed an egg that was raw, leaving only juniors and seniors left in the competition — which was how much of the prior day-and-a-half had gone at Color War.
Left standing were Clara Sandler, for the juniors, and Ben for the class of ’18.
Ms. Wilner then paused the match to explain how the rules would go. Since the round had started with Ben, if Clara smashed a raw egg, the Purple team — the senior class — would win.
But if Ben smashed a hard boiled egg, Clara would still get a chance, since Ben had started the round. Clara would have to find a hard-boiled egg for the juniors’ Red team to win.
At that point, Ben made an offer to Clara: if he smashed 10 eggs and even one of them was raw, the 11th-grade Red Team would win.
However, if none of them were raw, the the senior Purple team would win.
Students erupted, and the Red team advised Clara to accept the offer.
Leaders for the Purple team demanded Ben withdraw it, however, and on the next turn, Clara received a raw egg — crowning Ben the champion of Egg Roulette for the third year in a row.
Ben expressed some wonder that the competition was so popular.
“It even has like this competition sort of thing where like everyone gets over-excited about something so stupid like eggs,” he said.
But junior Amir Maman agreed with him that it is one of the best events Color War has to offer.
“I think it’s one of the most exciting events in Color War, definitely the most hyped one,” said Amir.
Apache Relay ends in knockout game after a tie caused by penalties
The Apache Race competition is known by students to be the most intense and taxing in Color War, and this year it was no different.
It offers an apparently large number of points, incorporating 20 mini-competitions over the course of 45 minutes to an hour, depending on the speed of students. This year it took about 50 minutes to be completed by all the teams, which have been divided by grade as of two years ago.
But what made this year’s competition so tense was not the teams’ speed but the multiple penalties, rumors of cheating and an eventual tie between the juniors and seniors, which later resulted in a victory for the 11th grade Red team. Also, new games were added, such as Chubby Bunny, a game in which competitors must say “chubby bunny” with as many chubby bunny candies in their mouths as possible.
Senior and Purple Team member Arman Marghzar was the recipient of one penalty. Between mini-competitions, the person to finish a task must carry a baton quickly to the next event. The Purple team strategized to select Arman as its official “baton runner” so someone who just finished a difficult task would not have to then rush the baton up or down multiple flights of stairs.
The last competition was the “Hawaiian Hula Hoop,” and then the final task was to take the baton to the gym. Whoever got there first won.
Arman was told by his teammates to drop the baton from the third floor to a team member on the first floor if it was very close at the end of the race, instead of running the baton downstairs. It was close at the end, so he did drop it to a fellow team member.
“Honestly at first I was really angry and I thought throwing it was a good idea,” Arman said. “Then I realized of course we should be penalized for that. It defeated the purpose of the relay. It was a fair punishment, and it was stupid of me to do that as our team was desperate in the moment.”
The penalty was that the seniors had 10 seconds added to the time it had taken them to get to the gym, which put them at a disadvantage. However, the juniors were also penalized for using the school’s back entrance to access the gym, which was prohibited.
Head of School Rabbi Ari Segal announced the two penalties “cancel each other out.” He and Color War leaders Rabbi Ari Schwarzberg, Judaic Studies teacher Ms. Ilana Wilner and the SAC co-chairs decided a game of knockout would break the tie between the two upperclassmen teams.
Knockout is a game in which two people at a time try to score baskets, and participants may “knock out” the opponent’s ball. If it takes a player two rotations to make a shot, he or she is eliminated.
Competitors from the Purple Team were seniors Loren Edry, Benny Zaghi and Ben Mashiach, all members of the varsity basketball teams — as were the Red team’s players Zack Muller, Talia Abel and Asher Dauer. Team faculty advisers Rabbi Yagil Tsaidi (Purple) and Rabbi Schwarzberg (Red) also played.
Rabbi Segal said it was Rabbi Schwarzberg’s idea to break the tie with a knockout game,.
“We sort of huddled up,” Rabbi Segal said. “Y’know there were too many factors, competing penalties and bonuses. We decided we couldn’t end the Apache on a penalty, basically. We wanted a winner-take-all situation.”
SAC co-chair Summer Gershon said she thought it was a good tiebreaker, and could be used in the future for other competitions. Because everyone can watch the knockout game, there is a decreased risk of cheating or other controversy.
“This way everyone can see what’s going on,” said Summer.
She added that she wished she did not have to make those tough calls.
“Color War is always fun, but as a referee I didn’t enjoy it,” she said. “I would have chosen to be on a team, because being a ref is a lot of planning, I got no sleep, and I didn’t like judging my friends or asking people to quiet down.”
Talia Abel of the Red team was undecided about the tiebreaker.
“I do think it was a good compromise because it’s a great way of settling a tie,” she said. “I also don’t think it was fair because we should have won in the first place.”
Arman was also told to go to the wrong location several times by students on opposing teams.
“When you’re running around the school as fast as you can high on adrenaline you just hear someone say a location and you just bolt off,” he said. “It was a mistake I made for listening to the other team, and they shouldn’t be penalized for that. It was a smart strategy to throw me off.”
He and others thought the seniors still did well because of teamwork — a core principle of the Apache, since it requires so many people to be coordinated in the right places at the right times.
“I was really proud of how we performed,” Arman said. “It showed how much of a family we really are by working so well together.”
Purple Team captain Loren Edry agreed.
“It was super competitive, which I loved,” said Loren. “We all used a lot of teamwork, which is super important.”
Students who participated also enjoyed the Apache Race. Sophomore and Green Team member Jonah Tochner played a game in which he had to throw a water balloon into a basket on top of someone’s head without breaking the balloon.
“It’s a lot of fun and builds team camaraderie — you have to be in sync all the time,” said Jonah. “It was just a fun game to play with my friends on a hot day.”
He said he had to throw the ball lightly into the basket so it would not pop, and made sure he matched up his movements with the movement of his friend’s basket.
Junior Honor Fuchs played a game in which she had to pronounce certain words with a large mouthguard on. Her teammates had to try to figure out what she was saying.
“It was hilarious,” Honor said. “‘Boxing’ was really difficult to say with a mouthguard in. I yelled a lot, and I couldn’t pronounce the ‘b’ with a mouthguard in.”
COLOR WAR: Disputed call gave ‘Coke – Pepsi’ game to the seniors; juniors still have not conceded
By Molly Litvak, Staff Writer, and Lucy Fried, Torah Editor
The stakes were high as a sea of students, each grade wearing a different color, flooded into the gym for the last event of the first day of Color War.
The whole school was there, some 250 students and about 50 staff. Seniors wore purple, juniors wore red, sophomores wore green and freshman wore black.
“At that point in the day, the Black team was already losing, so I just wanted everyone to have fun and have a good time,” said freshman captain Shani Menna. “After all, that’s what Color War is about anyway.”
But the popular bar-bat mitzvah game called “Coke/Pepsi” became one of the most hotly contested of Color War and introduced an abundance of tension and dispute into the two-day contest, as the juniors and seniors battled at the end.
Some thought the seniors’ eventual victory was arbitrary, while the seniors argued that they should have won sooner and that judges had prolonged the game to give the juniors more chances. And everyone agreed the judging had gone on too long.
“The judges kept redoing it after someone got out, they just kept putting them back in and restarting,” said freshman Akiva Rubin.
“Coke/Pepsi” is a giant back-and-forth race in which pairs standing on either side of a room respond to calls of particular words. After hearing a dvar Torah about Purim from senior Ilan Bouskila, each color sent in about 13 pairs from its team to play.aaas
If the judge called “Coke,” one member from each pair would run to the other side, and if he or she called “Pepsi,” the other member would run.
The phrase “Seven-up” would force everyone to freeze in place, and if “Dr. Pepper” was called, then each pair would link arms in the center.
These were the basic rules of the game. But Shalhevet’s Student Activities Committee, which ran Color War, had added a twist. If the judge called out “Rabbi Block” — a Shalhevet Judaic Studies teacher — each pair had to cry, “Oy yoy.” And if the judge called “Shakespeare,” they had to jump up and down and say, “To be or not to be.”
If a pair did not do the move correctly or was not fast enough, they would be eliminated. Additionally, anyone who moved when they weren’t supposed to would be out. The last pair still in would win and get 500 points for their team.
For the first couple of rounds, nothing happened. Soon after, judges began eliminating pairs. The Black team was the first to be fully removed from the game, followed by the Green.
“I got out in Coke and Pepsi because they said Coke while we were already on Coke, and I moved so I got out,” said freshman Joey Blumofe. “It was still fun.”
Joey was not the only person to get out this way, as it was the main method used to disqualify people. This technique was used repeatedly until most of the contenders were gone.
Finally, there was only one pair each representing the Red and Green teams, and two representing Purple. However, it was getting harder to cut players.
In an attempt to get people out more quickly, SAC adviser Ms. Ilana Wilner announced, “Last one to the other side is out — doesn’t matter if you did the right thing, you’re out.”
The atmosphere of the gym became tense and excited as the last few pairs tried their best to win. Multiple times, the judges were forced to quiet down members of the teams who were watching because they were making too much noise. It was not unusual for a player or team member to argue a judge when they were eliminated.
Eventually the last Green pair lost and soon after that there was only one pair from each from Team Purple and Team Red.
Junior Hannah Friedman, who was a part of the second-to-last Red pair to be eliminated, felt her team should have won.
“It seemed like they kept doing re-dos until the Purple team won,” said Hannah.
The final junior pair was Asher Dauer and Sam Navon, and last seniors pair were twin brothers Sam and Zack Hirschhorn. The judges repeatedly called one pair out and then changed their minds.
Team members started complaining. Accusations of bias sprung from both the seniors and the juniors as the judging continued and the competitiveness increased.
Finally, the juniors were called out when they failed to jump up and down on the word “Shakespeare.” They disagreed with this call.
“Well for starters we didn’t lose, we actually won,” Sam Navon said later.
“The rules were for when they call ‘Shakespeare’ you bounce up and down, we did that and the other team didn’t yet, they allowed the game to keep going.
“The refereeing was just absurd, and they gave them these 500 points they didn’t deserve… Asher and I won that, we were faster and better.’
Debates continued on Schoology hours after school had ended. There, seniors defended the Purple team’s win.
“Oscar was the judge and called multiple times that we won and they kept giving you chances, what more do you want?” commented senior Elie Helfand, referring to security guard Oscar Hernandez.
Zack Hirschhorn also argued that the juniors were let off the hook many times.
“You lost four rounds ago. Dauer admits it,” Zack commented in all caps.
Akiva Rubin thought judges kept Purple pairs in the game on purpose even if they weren’t actually better than pairs of other colors.
“By the end there was so many more Purple team members [in the game] than other team members,” said Akiva.
At a school-wide davening the next morning, Rabbi Ari Schwarzberg jokingly settled the dispute, announcing that the winning points from the game would be given to the sophomore Green team. This provoked groans from both Purple and Red teams until SAC chairs Ariel Cohen and Summer Gershon announced this would not be the case.
Ariel did not participate in the competition but still had something to say about it.
“That was one of the most intense games of Coke and Pepsi I’ve ever seen,” Ariel said.“I’m glad it finally came to an end but it was fun.”
Purim was only days away. In his dvar Torah, Ilan spoke about the importance of matanot l’evyonim, the commandment on Purim to give gifts or money to the poor. He specifically emphasized the importance of it in the eyes of the Rambam — Maimonides, a well-known and influential Torah scholar of the Middle Ages — who said it came before all other mitzvot on Purim.
“The Rambam says that the mitzvah of matanot l’evyonim is so important and so powerful that we should spend more time on matanot l’evyonim than of all the other mitzvot on Purim combined,” said Ilan.
“We shouldn’t be staying at home, we shouldn’t be spending our time giving gifts to our friends, we should spend the vast majority of our time on matanot l’evyonim.”
COLOR WAR BASKETBALL: Juniors beat seniors, sophomores best freshmen
By Tobey Lee, Sports Editor
In the middle of the first day of Color War, all four teams faced off in basketball, with the juniors defeating the seniors in both girls and boys games, and the sophomores beating the freshman in both boys and girls games.
All games were held in the gym Feb. 22. The winners of the basketball game received 500 points toward their total Color War score, according to Color War judge and SAC Co-Chair Ariel Cohen.
Freshman Max Wintner said that playing opposite students who were older than he is was scary.
“Definitely intimidating going up against people who I knew were going to be better ball players, and also people who I didn’t know so much,” said Max.
However, he enjoyed it anyway.
“It was also a great bonding experience, cause we got to work together to compete against the other grade,” said Max, who plays for the Firehawk JV basketball team.
He also said that playing well on the defensive side was the key.
“We knew we couldn’t beat them one on one, so we tried to spread it out and see how we can force them turnovers,” he said.
The junior and senior girls squared off first, with the junior girls winning. The senior girls had an opportunity to win the game, but could not hit their final shot.
The junior and senior boys then squared off, and the game was tight throughout. It went to double overtime, with Zach Muller hitting the game-winning layup, securing the victory for the juniors, Team Red.
Junior Joseph Zaghi said staying calm was the key.
“I think it was just like staying composed cause most of the game we were down, but we always kept the game close,” said Joseph.
He also enjoyed playing against his older brother, Firehawk Varsity star Benny Zaghi.
“It was pretty fun — I even told him like after the game like he played really well,” said Joseph.
But he said it was scary playing against the older boys, at least at first.
“They all got jerseys, headbands, wristbands… so like it was a little intimidating,” he said.
He also said that the turning point of the game was a call made by athletic director Ryan Coleman against the seniors, which was a lane violation called on senior Ben Mashiach.
“Big play of the game was Ryan calling that line violation, that was a huge play for us,” he said.
The Green team sophomore girls easily defeated the freshman girls of the black team. They were led by star Firehawks Kikuyo Shaw and Maital Hiller, who was also one of the sophomore captains.
Finally, the sophomore boys faced off against the freshman boys, and though the game was tight throughout, the sophomores got the win at the end, defeating the freshman.
Sophomore Ari Schlacht said the freshman played well, and that the sophomores had underestimated them going into the game.
“They definitely put up much more of a fight than we anticipated,” said Ari.
He also said that some keys to winning the game were shooting.
“We shot the three ball well… which I think [is] the reason that we won,” he said.