OPINION | True trailblazer is truly weird

Utah Tech’s homecoming week ended with a classic round of True Trailblazer. Sydney Johnson | Sun News Daily

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After the homecoming football game and the “Dirty 30” dance, an event took place that is odd, to say the least, to outsiders unfamiliar with the tradition. An event titled “True Trailblazer” happened.

“True Trailblazer” is a tradition at Utah Tech University where students kiss one or 45 people in the fountain on campus.

To a non-native Utahn, like me, this tradition seems very odd. I first heard of it my freshman year at Utah Tech. I couldn’t believe what I was being told – for fun I was suppose to kiss random people in front of a bigger group of random people. This event seemed like a breeding ground for mono, cold sores and a feeling of embarrassment, and from hearing experiences, this event usually is.

After my friend participated last year, dramatically upping her kiss count in one night came with longer lasting effects than she expected. She was out of class for a week being sick, and unfortunately, she was diagnosed with mono. Smooching more than one person in a cold fountain did not boost her confidence or sense of achievement but instead got her a week of classes over zoom.

I was even more appalled to find out that not just other universities in Utah participate in their own versions, but high schools also have these lip-locking traditions. For a state that only teaches abstinence to their high schoolers, it seems contradictory to allow them to kiss multiple classmates on school grounds. Administration can allow their students to kiss willy, nilly but not how to use a condom… interesting.

Yes, I know kissing can be an innocent act, but the frenzy and excitement of being able to kiss multiple people in one setting is what jarred me the most.

The talk and buzz that is created by those that are eager to participate leads to pressure for others to join in on the tradition. Incoming freshman hear all about “True Trailblazer” and upperclassmen are asked if they are a “True Trailblazer.” Many times I have heard people question their friends why they don’t want to kiss a random person in the fountain. It’s this pressure that makes me think this tradition is bizarre.

It seems odd that at the age we are at there is such an exhilarating feeling from kissing a stranger underneath cold water. However, it is even weirder that younger ages also participate in these traditions. With the high schoolers doing this trend, “True Trailblazer” seems juvenile.

I was not expecting to hear this type of tradition once starting my college journey. It was a definite shock; this type of event would never happen where I grew up in Texas. However, have I participated in this tradition? Yes. Do I still think it is weird? Yes.