By Emery Jacobowitz, Olim 2018 – White Eclipse
In Color War, everybody is able to find something that truly resonates with them – something that will remain in their memories forever. Rope Burn is one such beloved event. It is, simply enough, a composition of a trio of captains, the Pit Crew, who build a bonfire with a quartet called the “feeders” who supply fire-building materials to the crew. The goal of the competition is thus: burn through a soaked rope strung 8 feet in the air in a faster time than the other team.
So what is it that gives Rope Burn such a special status amongst the other Color War events? For some it’s the roaring flames, the excitement of watching a raging inferno appear in mere minutes. Nothing compares to the palpable sense of joy when one team snaps their rope just before the other or as the Pit Crew ignites their fire in record time.
Others are fond of the event because they are interested in its unique atmosphere. Only fourteen captains – seven from each team – are directly involved in the process. Everyone else sits on the beach at the lake, quietly watching as each team works. Complete silence grips the attention of all campers and staff as they sit on the edge of their seats with awestruck anticipation. As the sky grows dark, the sense of oneness and community strengthens and adds to the events emotional clout.
Rope Burn would never be complete without the aforementioned aspects, but they do not make the event unforgettable. After both fires are lit, the Pit Crews stand back and watch the culmination of many hours of exhaustive practice and wood collecting. Words cannot describe the feeling of being that captain, or even that spectator who is proud of their Color War heroes. More than likely, all of these campers have known each other for years or the better part of a decade. These were my peers during Color War 2018. In this moment, just when I thought Rope Burn, could not get any better, I was completely blown away. The Blue Pit Crew, who had been winning the event, ran over to their comrades on White and slung their arms around each other in a symbolic embrace. The fraternity felt in the moment transcended Color War’s competitive nature – instantly transforming a scene of rivalry into one of friendship and love.
We captains may have been separated for long days, engrossed in defeating the opposing color during various competitions. Yet at the end of the day, our love and unity knows no bounds. A giant group hug and the reunification of split parties: thats what makes the difference between this event and the rest. Rope Burn brings out the best in us. It acts as a reminder that all of us are really just one big family. No matter where life takes us, no matter the tumult we may encounter down the road, Olim ’18 and Crane Lake Camp will always be undying flames.