On Raft Race Violence


To The Editors of The Crimson:

The Red Sox are back, Harvard's walls will soon be covered with ivy (for the last time, perhaps?), reading period is here, and another Adams House Raft Race has come and gone.

Crowds lined the shores of the Charles Saturday to watch another crude flotilla of makeshift rafts exchange rounds of water balloons, fruit vegetables, eggs and less familiar objects. Thankfully, there were no dead mice this year.

As a die-hard participant the past three years. I've had the chance to appreciate the raft race at its best-and at its worst. An egg hit me in the eye this time out, and although I seem to have escaped with no lasting damage, it was scary enough to make me do some thinking about the race

Anyone who has ever been in the Raft Race knows what fun it can be. Every year, one of the rafts seems to enjoy what President Reagan might call "a definite margin of superiority For one afternoon, the Charles becomes a microcosm of international relations, complete with superpowers, neutral parties, and unstable third-world entries from places as remote as South House.


In spite of this fun. However, the race can sometimes degenerate into a very base affair. There is a fine line between good physical fun and dangerous violence. It seems to me that everyone would be better off if, next year, a little of the danger were removed by banning ammunition like eggs and apples. Rotten tomatoes, water balloons, and a host of other effective and disgusting projectiles are enough to keep the race interesting.

Even if the United States and the Soviet Union cannot recognize the advantage of banning particularly destructive weapons, we, at civilized Harvard, could do some good by reducing the chances of someone being really hurt at one of our strange rituals. Ron Kurtz '82