But what really intrigues me about the game are the rules...and more importantly the quasi-society that is create in order to make sure the game is played fairly. This isn't just a free-for-all, the game is governed by a strict moderator, disputes are handled by judges and juries, evidence must be presented, rule changes are constantly in the works. It's as though an entire social order is created, from scratch, by necessity, for the sole purposes of making this game work. It's a real exercise in human development, sociology, psychology, and all that other fun stuff.
And the really interesting thing...is that there are no adults involved at all. The students entirely create, run, cancel, play, judge, and supervise the entire event themselves. In fact, it's likely because there's no direct adult involvement that the game has taken such roots and become such a success. Anyone that says students are "lazy" might think otherwise when they see this in action; students aren't lazy...they're just lazy about things that they don't care about (much like everyone).
When I see or hear about this event in action, I can't help but be amazed that the same kids who take three days to answer a handful of discussion questions, or six months to pick a t-shirt design, or waste days and days drafting the same paragraph can throw something like this together instantly and with such intensity. Of course I know the reason: this is fun and school isn't. Even so, there has to be a way to harness the work ethic that goes into something like this and use it for something that's actually productive. If there was a way to have students attack their work in the same way they attack problems in this annual extravaganza...there's no telling what they'd be able to accomplish.
Maybe next year. Until then, let's see how the game plays out. There's always new wrinkles every year.