How to Host a No Holds Barred Water Fight

My uncle started it.

Back in the 90s, he’d sneak into a room where we girls were huddled around the television and turn the super soaker on us, then take off on us before we could get our revenge.

We’ve all gotten older but haven’t outgrown our love of the water fight. If anything, age has made us wiser, craftier, and more patient in battle. And those traits are reflected in the quality of our fights. It’s also hardened us. Well, most of us. The men in our family don’t think it’s at all unmanly to hide behind a woman or child rather than get wet. If it’s human, then it can be used as a shield. The old, young, infirm, and pregnant are likely to find themselves sprayed–unless they spray first.

We’ve perfected the water fight. I don’t say that lightly. And so, as experts with decades of practice, we share the following tips:

1. Identify a target. In this water fight, it’s my cousin’s fiance. His family welcomed our family into the fold with a lovely dinner party. This is our way of reciprocating. (In our defense, we did feed him afterward.)

2. Give yourselves plenty of time to plan. Don’t procrastinate. We like a premeditated water fight. This looks like an innocent stroll toward the badminton net. Because we planned it that way.

3. Have a variety of weapons. Water balloons, buckets, super soakers, hoses–we use them all. Liberally.

4. Know your battlefield. Are there multiple exits? You don’t want the target to escape. Where are the best places to hide balloons? You want to make sure everyone on your team has ready access to them. How big is the area and how long is the water hose? It’s no fun if your target can cower in a far-off corner, smug and dry, while you try to spray him.

5. Make sure everyone knows how this is going to go down. You want this to look like a well-oiled operation, not a startup. In our family, if you’re old enough to stand up, then you’re going to hear the plan. And be expected to adhere to it and do your part.

6. Show no pity. The fiance’s stunned expression and plaintive cries of, “Why are you doing this to me?” should not worm their way into your heart. Pretend it’s white noise.

And when he’s thoroughly soaked but you still have water balloons, it would be a shame not to use them. Also, your teammates will turn on you first if you wait too long.

7. Laugh like you haven’t laughed since you were a kid. Squeal. Point and hoot.

8. Pick up all the pieces of water balloon in the yard. We play dirty, but we do clean up after ourselves.

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