Humans vs. Zombies reminds us to re-evaluate our own misconceptions

Nerf guns. Orange strips of cloth. Anxiety. Watchfulness. The need to be ready to react on a second's notice. Such is the experience of a player in Humans vs. Zombies (HVZ). Each individual is either a human or a zombie – or dork or nerd or geek. At least that seems to be popular opinion on campus for anyone not part of the group.

HVZ has become the butt of numerous jokes now that its first big event has run its course, coming to a close at the start of Halloween weekend. The week featured a fairly reliable guarantee of entertainment on the way to class. Orange-banded heads could be seen crouching in bushes and slinking stealthily along buildings; the owners of the "human" armbands either nervously clutching at small Nerf guns (obvious beginners) or striding along purposefully, arrayed in trench coats stocked with Nerf paraphernalia. It is amusing, to say the least.

Then there were the onlookers that pointed and laughed. Mutters of "what a loser" or "they're so lame" were not uncommon. HVZ is becoming equivalent to present-day's Dungeons & Dragons. Throw in a round of Magic: The Gathering and a pair of blocky glasses and you've got yourself a world-class geek.

Really, Geneseo? Of the many schools in the area, we are the last people who should be calling anyone a nerd. The "unofficial public honors college" is chock full of them.

I'm not sure if I could call Geneseo the most diverse school, but we certainly have a wide array of people that come from different backgrounds and interests. It's part of what makes this college a unique community. It is the moments of unquestioned stereotyping that start unraveling us as a community.

The open disdain people have shown for HVZ players is shocking on a campus that has banded together in support of LGBT rights and routinely celebrated diversity in the form of Cultural Harmony Week and cultural clubs. HVZ is a harmless, amusing pastime, so what's the big deal?

Sure, some kids are perhaps a little over the top, sometimes at the risk of causing problems for others. Innocent pedestrians being used as human shields or being knocked over in some freshman's haste to escape death is pretty annoying, but no more so than events on the average day. If it isn't an HVZ player knocking you over, it is someone too busy texting or simply not awake enough to notice they are walking into other people. Annoying? Sure, but it happens on occasion.  

If we're really being honest here, we all have a little nerd in us. Whether it's obsession with grades, a devotion to Milne, a slight case of obsessive-compulsive behaviors or a love of anime – we're all a little nerdy. I'll admit it, I even tried HVZ freshman year. I hated it – I'm not a big fan of being chased through the rain on my way to class – but as a result I can appreciate how much effort and skill it takes to do well.

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