The Californian

Ultimate guide to being a bystander

Illustration by Sophie Bacher

Illustration by Sophie Bacher

Sabrina Contreras, Staff Writer

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Fights are a tradition at Cal High that have brought many students together, both physically and emotionally. 

When a fight breaks out, everyone puts their differences aside to experience the breathtaking spectacle. Not to mention unearthing the details of the fight afterward. 

Whether it’s in front of the library or in a parking lot, kids from all over the campus will travel to the location of the fight. 

There is a heavily enforced multi-step process that is followed by all the students.

The first step is hearing the fight. Picture this: It’s a beautiful day. You grab the barely edible Chinese food and are about to take your first bite of today’s mystery meat, but then, you hear a noise.  

 That noise is students cheering. The usually dreary student body is shouting louder than any school event. That’s when you know it’s a fight.

“Fights are more hyped than the rallies,” said sophomore Rose Shah.

She is right. The apathetic cheering of rallies is drowned out by the thunderous, war-like cries of a fight. Their animalistic howling echoes through the halls of Cal, a call to every half-asleep teen who is otherwise oblivious to his or her surroundings. 

The commotion that the noise brings entails the excitement of the students witnessing the fight. This excitement solely comes from two kids circling each other for 15 seconds while the crowd roars. 

After hearing and identifying the fight, you would be amazed if you got the chance to see how students migrate. 

“Students end up acting like a flock of birds,” said world history teacher Hannah Cheng.

Like moths to a lamp, hundreds of students run across school to witness the holy communion of ritual combat. Running fast is imperative because fights end as fast as they start. 

“The admin will show up within minutes to break up the fight,” said sophomore Mirjam Oosterhuis.

With their walkie-talkies and keyrings, admin carve a path through the crowd of students like Moses and the Red Sea. 

Now for step three. Once you arrive to the fight, you can’t help but whip out your phone. Getting the fight on Snapchat is just as important as seeing some poor kid get KO’ed. Students even have their own fights on the sidelines to get the utmost premium angle to record it. 

What if you missed the fight? Don’t worry, any videos of the fight will be uploaded on Snapchat for all to see.

Kids who put the fight on their story immediately become the coolest on the block. Their DMs start to flood with requests from people they have never known who ask for them to send the video.  

“Videoing the fight is unacceptable because students shouldn’t be encouraging the fight,” said campus supervisor Mark Karbo.

Many have argued that recording the fight actually helps since it provides hard evidence for admin to potentially use. 

Unfortunately, students come to the saddening realization that after following these steps so vigorously, the fight usually ends up being a bust.

Students expect a fight sequence straight out of John Wick, but they usually get two people with noodle arms slapping each other on the head, completly missing their punches, or  pulling hair. Losing this “kitty fight” leads to an eternity of humiliation and shame. 

Nonetheless, it’s an experience that will stay with you throughout your never ending high school career. 

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Ultimate guide to being a bystander