Coming April 1, the University of Dallas will be hosting its very own olympics. The contest will last the entire day, and provide an opportunity for competition, fellowship and food.
Nicholas Beatty, a senior politics major, is the visionary behind the event and also its organizer.
He said: “My high school had this event called Clan Day and it was a day of intense games and it was pretty nuts and I think it was very healthy. I felt like at UD, people study a lot and we have great students, but also people don’t get great sleep and people don’t eat super healthy necessarily. I had the idea going into the fall semester and I think it could be a great continuing tradition.”
Beatty pitched his idea to the UD student government to get funding and the proposal was met with unanimous enthusiasm.
John Frank, a senior politics major and student body vice president, said: “For a school that is so steeped in greco-roman history and culture and that is so enthusiastic about campus-wide community events, this event is likely to be a huge success. It’s one of those ideas that’s so good, it makes you ask yourself why nobody thought of it before.”
This event already has a different feel to it compared to other UD staples.
Peter Key, a sophomore business major, said: “Competition is a healthy thing. When people compete, they unite. You’re against all your competition, but you’re also unified in your love of the competition and so it brings a lot of people together.”
Key said that there are not enough events on campus that feel unique to UD. Whereas almost every college has events such as TGIT, not every college has a unique school-wide community event like olympic games.
Each team will be composed of four members, with men competing against men, and women against women. Grade level is immaterial. The cost of entering is $20 per team — or $5 per person.
As of now, the plan is to start the day off at 10 a.m. with the Chariot Race, a relay race stretching from the UD tower to Braniff and which will involve giving piggy-back rides to your teammates.
The first event will be followed by Mass and lunch. At 1:30 p.m., the Punic Wars will start — “Punic” as in “tug of.” The final event — the Spartan Race — is the grand finale. The race will start off with a half mile run, followed by a four man relay race. The first runner will do an army crawl, the next person will do a log carry, the third person will do a rope climb and the last runner will have a wall mount. Once the fourth runner finishes, everyone will sprint to the finish line.
As of yet, there is no official scoring metric set in stone, but the current idea is that the lowest score wins and that the final event will be weighted. For the first two events, first place gets one point, second place gets two points, third place gets three points, etc. For the final race, points are doubled — first place gets two points, second place gets four points, etc.
After the final race, the day will finish with a feast and award ceremony behind Clark Hall. The hope is to be able to have a pig roast for the feast.
Originally, the plan was to account for 16 teams, but as interest has grown, Beatty and the planning committee are expecting close to 30 teams to register for the event. The men are expected to comprise 70-80% of the teams and the women 20-30%.
Beatty said: “I think it’s good to physically challenge people because UD is all about forming the whole person. We do a great job with intellectual formation and I think a pretty good job with moral formation. But I think this [event] is really part of the physical formation that we don’t necessarily have. There’s not as much of a culture of challenging yourself physically — it’s more of an independent thing.”
Beatty hopes the olympics will be able to provide a unifying culture of physical competition.
The committee has a budget of $3000 from OSA and $1500 from Student Government. The plan is to spend that on all the material needed for the event such as the team T-shirts, catering, wood to build some of the obstacles, the tug of war rope and also prizes like the Spartan helmets and the custom rugby polos.
Frank said: “This event shows how UD has cultivated an environment in which students are encouraged to truly lead. We have a lot of really excellent student leaders, and it’s super cool to see them contribute to their community in their own ways. It’s been great watching Nick pull support from so many different groups on campus to bring the whole event together — I think it really shows how our community can come together over something we all buy into.”
Beatty and the committee hope to make the UD olympics a lasting tradition. Currently, there are four seniors and two sophomores on the committee. The committee includes Beatty, Vincent Cavanna, a senior computer science major, Harrison Vetter, a senior history major, Maxwell Lagarde, a senior physics major, Liam Hamway, a sophomore computer science/cybersecurity major, and Catherine Brecount, a sophomore, politics major.
Beatty said: “Right now we’re doing a lot of grunt work for the future. We’re doing extensive documentation of the rules, bringing underclassmen onto the executive committee, we’re investing in quality materials, we’re looking for storage and we have a healthy source of funding from OSA.”
Beatty is hopeful that the UD olympics will become a staple of UD culture and is encouraging one and all to join in.
He said: “I think that this is going to be the next best UD tradition and that everyone should sign up because it’ll make a man or a woman out of you — corresponding to whichever you are. Consider that this happens once a year and might not happen again — hopefully it does — but it will be a ton of fun and you’ll be able to play part in your community and challenge yourself physically.”
Key had a similar message — short and to the point: “Sign up, be there, compete and make a good team.”