Teen Branding

Teen Branding

Hannah Wilson and Ava Scalia

Dating back from the Dark Ages, branding has been prevalent in the lives of older generations and now seems to be establishing itself amongst the traditions of teenage boys. Branding can be defined in many ways, but in this use of the term, it can be characterized as a hot metal rod held against your body with the intent to burn a permanent, physical mark into it. Although this method has been used by many to claim possession or punish others as they deemed fit, many high school athletes have recently taken to this barbaric act and are attempting to turn it into a contemporary tradition. 

At least nine known Harleton Wildcats have received brands in the last couple of years. During one of their frequent boys’ nights out, an idea ignited to create this symbolic bond between brothers. The brand took the shape of an “H” and is supposed to represent the boys’ connection to their hometown and each other. They chose to place the brand on their chests or biceps, taking pride in their new lifelong tie to each other.

It must be mentioned that branding does come with the obvious risk of infections, scarred tissue, and diseases; these boys have narrowly escaped these health hazards but did experience some side effects including:  (the obvious) scarring, fevers, pain, and pus. With consistent washing and cleaning, the wound scabs over after about 3 days. 

Family members and friends were extremely concerned when their loved ones developed fevers and observed that the brands were actually deep wounds. One of  the students said a high pain tolerance was necessary.  “You have to be tough about it.” 

As they continue to grow and move on with their lives, this symbol will be marked on them as a reminder of where they came from and their back road roots.