(Disclaimer: My next post is about the Blue Dynasty and the White Warriors. Now, this all happened ten years ago, and some of the details are a little hazy to me. So for the sake of good narrative and my own personal stake in the story itself, please don’t grill me on the details. This is my story of the Warriors and Dynasty — as I remember it. But as far as issues at Avoda go, this is as hot-button as it gets, so I will attempt to be fair to all concerned parties. My feelings are my own and no one else’s. But I was — and continue to be — a proud Warrior, so forgive my biases.)
Let me be upfront. I hate the Blue Dynasty. I hate everything about them. I hate what they stand for. I hate their methods. I hate their shirts. I hate their chants. I hate their stupid flags. For a week, I hated their staff members. There’s even a small part of me that, to this day, quietly resents every member of their team — all 60+ of them. And I especially hate that damned locker. But underneath all that disdain, there lies a tiny speck of appreciation for the lessons I learned from that Color War…and an even tinier speck of admiration for the people on the Dynasty who taught me those lessons.
In 2000, Avoda was so heavily dominated by the super senior staff that the tensions between them and the younger counselors were dangerously obvious to the entire camp. The older guys were openly antagonistic and the younger guys were equally defiant. To solve this problem, everyone decided on the most apparent (and/or destructive) solution — go head-to-head in Color War.
Inherently, there was no problem with pitting the veterans vs. the up-and-comers (other than the complete disintegration of staff camaraderie). It proved to be a good gimmick and a viable storyline for the campers to get behind. A few issues quickly arose, however. First, the younger crew, led by Josh Schneider and Eric Steiman, couldn’t secure a General — having already been vetoed themselves. That was easily solved by the inclusion of Dave Brown, a holdover from the ’92 14 who had returned to camp a year earlier to start up the ropes department and run the C.I.T. program.
A bigger crisis surfaced when hostilities started to spill over in the weeks leading up to Color War. Before long, most of the campers knew the teams — a big no-no at Avoda. I distinctly remember the League Championship, a volleyball game pitting two Dynasty lieutenants (Eric Levy and E.J. Kimball) against each other with a Warrior lieutenant (Greg Lazaroff) reffing. With the entire camp watching, both teams went back and forth. Josh Schneider used the opportunity to incessantly heckle both coaches, especially E.J. After Lazzy made a controversial call to give the game and title to Levy, E.J. confronted him. But what started out as a standard shouting match quickly turned scary when E.J. shoved Lazzy to the ground. That’s when things got real for all of us.
A few days later, counselors broke it at the Blue Man Group and the war was on. The next morning, it was all anyone could talk about. The phrase, “Who do you want?” took on a whole new meaning. Once envelopes were passed out and everyone made their way to the path, we were just waiting for those first two lieutenants to come out. Once Adam Silevitch and Mike Fiorentino picked their sides, we knew who else would be joining them. Even though the suspense was lost, it was somehow even more palpable. We could feel the tension emanating from the men in the Mess Hall. The anger was real and so was the war.
To be continued…