"Sack tapping" is the new painful craze sweeping the nation's teen boys. That is: punching each other in the balls. One child had his right ball amputated because he was punched so hard in it. Prepare to wince.
"Sack tapping." It is a silly name for a deadly serious practice. ABC News describes it as "chicken of the groin," which, again, does not make it sound serious at all. "Chicken of the groin" might be a good name for a brand of canned pork product, but it is actually "the newest fad in schoolyard violence." Teenage boys are running around high schools punching each other in the testicles! And that's not all: They are uploading videos of this to the Internet:
A search on YouTube reveals hundreds of videos of young boys, teens, and even members of the U.S. Navy, catching a friend unaware with a quick punch or slap to the genitals.
There's even a "Judge Judy" mock court case involving a 12-year-old "sack tapper" posted to the site.
Sack tapping is not some faceless virtual scourge. It is a human tragedy. Take the eye-watering tale of 14 year-old David Gibbons of Crosby, Minn. He had to have his right testicle removed after being punched, but the worst part is probably the fact that he had to go on the local news and talk about his missing ball while sitting between his parents on a couch. How is it that someone gets punched in the balls and they're the one whose Google results are ruined for life? He's going to show up at his first job interview and see the HR manager and her secretary giggling over this video:
But is sack tapping actually "the newest fad in schoolyard violence?" When I was in high school, sacks were tapped on a regular basis. For weeks halls echoed with the distinctive slap produced by the back of the hand on the front of the groin. Yet we never heard of balls being amputated; there were no Judge Judy episodes about our antics. What changed? The key difference between the sack taps of yore and the new, ball-killing breed is that the game we used to play was bounded by strict rules.
Basically, you were only tappable if the tapper flashed an upside-down "OK" sign with their hands and got you to look. Tapping is groin-based, so you had to flash the sign below the belt. Boys would walk around in the halls with a hand folded into the ball tap sign resting on their thigh. If others were stupid enough to drop their gaze, they were punched in the groin. Eventually the game died out, as the male student body learned quickly to fix their gaze around shoulder-level. Sack tapping (we called it "ball tagging") was self-limiting; the clear rules guaranteed it would disappear before things got out of hand.
Today, sack tapping has changed from the elegant Darwinist exercise it once was. These kids are just going around, willy-nilly, punching each other in the balls and then uploading this to YouTube as a badge of honor! Clearly, sack tapping is suffering from the same breakdown of social order that scuttled bowling clubs and Elks lodges in an earlier era. Teens are retreating further into a digital womb, where a sack is truly tapped only when it has been uploaded to YouTube and tweeted, MySpaced and Foursqaured to all of their friends. Age-old social cues (the ball-tap sign) are forgotten. And the chaos is reflected in the scrambled right ball of poor David Gibbons.