Get out your softball mitts, hula-hoops and competitive spirit – it’s Sportsfest time again.
Sportsfest, the annual weekend-long competition between residential colleges, will kick off its 19th run Friday, Feb. 6.
Only Hecht and Stanford were involved in the first Sportsfest in 1986. A new dorm was added to the mix each of the following three years, until the apartment area and all dorms were eventually included.
It has been said that Sportsfest should be renamed “Sex Fest” because of the highly sexual, never subtle, aspect of many of the team names, and the fact that many of the teams cut their T-shirts to be more revealing.
There are over 60 teams this year, each with its own self-defining, often highly suggestive, name.
“My floor’s first idea for a name got vetoed by the officials,” David Birrow, Stanford RA, said. “We were going to be the Walsh Jackson 5. Our caption was, ‘Kids love us.’ But now we’re the Walsh 5 Truckers, and our caption is ‘Unloading our big rig in the rear.'”
The general theme of Sportsfest hasn’t changed: teams compete against each other in sports events for the title of overall champion. Events range from the serious sports- football, basketball, volleyball, track and field and others – to the outrageous – mystery events, board games and human bowling.
There are several new events in this year’s Sportsfest.
A torch run, similar to the one in the Olympics, will begin at 5:15 p.m. at the bridge over the lake near the UC and end at the Rat.
Each leg of the race is run by the Masters, Associate Masters and Resident Coordinators from each residential college.
Maryann Barber and the Hecht folks will run the last leg as defending champions. They will light the flame, which will be moved to the IM fields. The Sportsfest flame will burn all weekend.
Opening ceremonies will be held inside the Rat.
Other changes this year include the cancellation of the traditional canoe race. For some reason, no one wanted to sign up to row across a crocodile-infested lake.
New sports events this year will include dodgeball, mini golf, a slingshot contest and badminton doubles. The “couch potato contest” also has some additions, including a game of Rock, Paper, Scissors and Playstation 2.
Students say the most highly anticipated new event is the Dance Dance Revolution competition.
Some students have expressed concern about the fierce nature of the competition. Often, students take their events a bit too seriously, and pitting fellow UM residents against each other seems to go against the original purpose of Sportsfest, which was to bring students together.
“There’s definitely a lot of animosity between Stanford and Hecht,” Birrow said. “But it’s really all about having a good time.”
“As the nature of the beast of any competition, some participants will always take it too far. With the addition of the great awards that we offer I think the level of competition has gone up,” Jason Carroll, head of Sportsfest, said. “But for the most part I think that most of the students that participate enjoy the weekend and look forward to it the following year.”
To motivate students to play fairly, a sportsmanship award is given out each year.
“Sportsfest is one of the few times everyone comes out for an event,” Michelle Steele, Stanford RA, said. “It’s a huge bonding time. The competition is all in fun.”
Sportsfest, primarily attended by freshmen and sophomores, provides an energized atmosphere for students to get to know each other better. According to Birrow, it is also a chance for prospective RAs to show themselves worthy by being team captains.
“I’m excited to see how many people will show up and what it’s all like,” Emily Huggins, freshman, said. “I’ve never participated before, but from what I hear, it seems pretty obvious that Stanford is going to win.”
“I don’t even know what events I’m doing yet,” Elizabeth Tedford, freshman, said. “I’m just looking forward to being involved. I’ve heard the whole weekend is a lot of fun.”
Jaclyn Lisenby can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.