The UD Olympics

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A competition worthy of Sparta

The University of Dallas has a fervent devotion to tradition, particularly those traditions born from the student body. As a university, we appear on Wikipedia’s entry for Groundhog Day. Why? Because, as radically independent thinkers, we are more inclined to celebrate a day that authentically reflects the student body. The non-essential nature of this celebration attracts so many to participate; its inanity is attractive because we, the student body, are the ones who bestow Groundhog Day with significance.

While the pulsing just above your left temple (which could not possibly be a symptom of overindulgence) may remain, Groundhog has come and gone. Groundhog can leave students reeling and yet others salivating for the kindredship offered by our annual February observance. Sired by the men of last year’s graduating class, led by Nicholas Beatty and the spiritual lovechild of Groundhog and the Geek Olympics, the UD Olympics are the most recent addition to the traditional canon of the university. Like each beloved tradition of the University of Dallas, the UD Olympics serve an integrative purpose; they invite people into agon – competition – which inherently draws them out of themselves. Last year, many participants found it challenging to remain trapped in interior chatter while running down the mall with a comrade on their back. In the same way, a classics major might not realize how much he has in common with a baseball player until they are covered head-to-toe in mud.

It is a welcome struggle, though, which promotes camaraderie and fosters a call to authentic masculinity. Too often, tradition is used as an excuse to debase rather than enrich ourselves. At the core of the UD Olympics is a purity of heart that seeks excitement and levity in a laudable fashion. UD students need not feel shame at their nocturnal activity so long as they live a coherent life. The UD Olympics are a testament to that unity of life; we can have just as much fun on a Saturday afternoon behind the tower as on a Friday night in the condos, and that’s the way it should be.

This year’s festivities will begin with the Punic Wars, an indistinguishable event from tug of war to the uneducated. Following the Punic Wars, teammates will pair off for the Chariot Race (no tricks here – it’s a piggyback race) down our pristinely paved mall. While these first two events are undoubtedly exhilarating, they are merely precursors to the crown jewel of the UD Olympics: The Spartan Race. Painstakingly engineered and re-engineered by Liam Hamway (25’) over the past two years, the SR is designed to drag men into deep waters (mud) so they can find out who they indeed are – or die (not die).

The winner of these three events will be calculated with atomic precision using proprietary AI technology, and the first, second and third place winners will be immortalized. Not only will the victors sport custom UD polos or iron Spartan Helms, but they will undoubtedly receive the heartfelt respect of their fellow students at the celebratory feast held after the games.

Keep your eye out for flyers and emails in the following weeks and days. I hope to see you Saturday, April 13.

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