Sock Balls and Safeties

A closer look at senior survivor


Crab walking, holding hands with a freshman and going bald all made up some of the safeties in this year’s senior survivor’s game. Safeties helped protect seniors from getting out and expired at the end of each day, when the clock restarted for those who got their target that day. Seniors who paid an entrance fee of five dollars were assigned targets they had to get out by hitting them with a sock by the end of a two weeks. Players could buy back in before April 28 by paying another ten-dollar fee. With 224 seniors participating at the beginning of the game, senior survivors encapsulated the final weeks of senior year. 

Senior Bella Volz, who got seven people out and was a member of the final three, echoed this. 

“Being able to focus on something other than school for a while and be strategic for weeks [has been the best part],” Volz said. “I love the feeling of escaping being eliminated or even coming up with an elaborate plan to get my survivor  out.” 

Annabel Friedman, another senior who made it to the final six and eliminated five people, emphasized her love of the game. 

“The best part [of the game] was getting to plan and scheme to find another classmate and stalk them to try and find out more about them,” Friedman said. “It feels like a crime movie, and it’s so fun to run around everywhere and look for creative ways to get them out. I have also loved doing the safeties when the group was bigger, it was really fun to do silly or embarrassing things all together in a big group like that, it made the whole thing so funny and enjoyable.” 

Some of what many view as the best kills in the game involved deception.

“George Flores was Kate Murphy’s target, and Kate was mine,” Volz said. “I decided to team up with George’s girlfriend, Lea Zuppas, and George Flores to lure Kate in to ‘get out George.’ Kate was let into the house under the impression she was going to get out George, then as soon as she walked in, I got her.” 

Senior David Rosman, who won the game after eliminating 22 targets, said his best kill was  based on a trick.

“I’ve had long chases, long waits, and some wild plans,” Rosman said. “I think my first one was my favorite because it was my first one, and I didn’t really know what would work. I was able to get Tenley Kennett out by saying someone hit her motorcycle, and she came running out of her classroom forgetting to do her safety.” 

Friedman’s favorite kill also involved trickery.

“I think my best kill was getting out Ava Lansbury,” Friedman said. “I had tricked her into thinking I had someone else, and I got her out in the hallway on griddy day. It was very deceptive.”

Griddy day, named after a popular dance involving the swinging of one’s arms, not only led to a successful elimination for Friedman, but also was her favorite safety. 

“Griddy day was my favorite, I thought it was really fun, and it was still decently easy,” Friedman said. “I was not a fan of the water jug safety, though, it was so tiring and my arm got sore by the end of the day.” 

To contrast, Rosman most enjoyed the crab walk safety, while Volz preferred painting exposed skin to match the book ‘A Bad Case of the Stripes.’ 

“I liked the crab walk because it was physically challenging, and I think that [it] was the most humiliating, making it a big challenge,” Rosman said. 

Seniors Ellie Potts and Sarah Bolles facilitated the senior-tradition due to their roles in the Student Government Association (SGA). In senior survivor s, they had the roles of running the survivor s’ Instagram account, assigning new targets, managing prize money, choosing safeties, maintaining rules and ruling on the success of various eliminations, some of which led to conflict.

“There were always disputes about [getting targets out during] practices and games, and what is considered starting a practice,” Bolles said. “Then there were disputes about getting out in your own home, which we decided was possible because all of the rules are either based around safety or [avoiding] distractions from school. The rule about trespassing in houses was to avoid breaking the law, so if you were welcomed into someone’s house it didn’t count.” 

Both Potts and Bolles stated that they enjoyed running the game. 

“It has really made me talk to people that I wouldn’t have otherwise,” Potts said. “I feel like it did the same to other people because it was random who everyone got…, and you had to learn a lot about people.” 

Although targets were randomly assigned, many students found the groupings to be funny. 

“Even though the wheel was randomly generated…, people who were dating had like a few people in between them and so when they killed those people, they eventually got to each other,” Bolles said. 

Rosman, who plans to split the prize money he won between himself, and the other third-place finalists, Volz and Riley Shelton, explained the method to his madness. 

“I’m crazy,” Rosman said. “I did the safeties no matter how humiliating. I changed my schedule so it was random and untimely, I always prepared the night before, and I’m super competitive, so that was my motivation to win.” 

On the night of May 17, Rosman, Shelton, and Volz met at Tuckahoe Park to finish the game before prom, as all three wanted to enjoy the dance without distractions. 

“The rules [of the night] were [that] you couldn’t leave the park until it was over, and you couldn’t climb trees,” Rosman said. “I brought friends to act as stunt doubles, thinking that gave me the upper hand. However, I was quite unprepared for Bella’s army of friends. And Riley was nowhere to be seen, [as she was hiding].” 

These unexpected factors led to a stalemate in the game, and subsequent complaints from some of the Instagram live viewers of the survivor ‘s account. Despite the unexpected length of the final battle, it soon ended. 

“After about 90 minutes of a standstill, we all met at the baseball field,” Rosman said. “The rules were now that we each had one sock and couldn’t leave the field…, [we could have] no other socks or umbrellas.” 

An alliance shortly formed between Volz and Shelton with the goal to take down Rosman. 

“Bella and Riley teamed up on me, so I was quite nervous knowing that I was at a disadvantage,” Rosman said. “I found the strength to pull through and get them both out one by one. Quite literally I took a shot in the dark and I made it.” 

Rosman emphasized the importance of enjoying the game. 

“I think I made it this far by just having fun,” Rosman said. “I imagine if you get negative stress from this, that would lower your chances of winning because then it’s hard to think clearly.”