Tips for surviving – and winning – a pillow fight

Earlier this month, I joined hundreds of other people in Cambridge, MA for an all-out pillow fight.  Now, three weeks later, my bruises have faded and I have some lessons to pass on.

Boston Pillow Fight 2011, Photo by Lauren Frohne

  1. Arrive early.  Or at least don’t be late.  The anticipation of slowly gathering in the middle of the park with hundreds of other people with pillows in bags or up their sweatshirts was the highlight of this event.  And that moment when the air horn went off and all hell broke loose made my day.  Get there early for the full experience.
  2. Do not wear open toed shoes or sandals.  Sure, the cobblestones kept me from getting muddy and sliding around, but my Tevas did not provide adequate protection from other people’s giant feet.  My toe has finally turned a lighter shade of purple, but this footwear was not a wise choice.
  3. Do not pass up a challenge.  You may be looking to hit someone your own size, but those 6-year-olds have got  a mean swing too, and they showed up for a purpose.  Just play nice, regardless of age, and watch out – their heads may come up to your armpit but anybody with a pillow can take you down if you’re not on your guard.  Pillow fights: the great equalizer.
  4. Bring a sturdy pillow.  This sack of feathers, foam, and cloth isn’t just your weapon, it’s also your only protection from all the other pillows out there.  I used mine as a shield more than I used it to hit people!
  5. Don’t be afraid to go alone.  This applies to all areas of life.  When fun, crazy, free things happen in your community, don’t let the fear of going alone cause you to miss out on a good time.  This is a lesson I have to remind myself about often, but this afternoon did a great job of showing me that life is too short to let anything get in your way.  By all means, drag convince your friends to join you, but then go anyway.  It turns out that despite the number of people who came in groups (and tried to circle up in defense of each other), it’s really hard to stick together in such a crazy scene/world, and it’s fun to be responsible for only yourself now and then.  And the payoff is worth it.
  6. Put down that camera.  Another lesson I learn over and over.  But here, it was more of a necessity if I wanted it to live to see another day.  Luckily, other people took great pictures of the event, like the one above, and I got to have an amazing time seeing the whole scene, not just the view through my lens.

This was my first pillow fight, but it certainly won’t be my last.  Meet me there next year – I’ll show you the ropes.

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