UCI Dodgeball

Opinion piece written for the NewUniversity

This past Wednesday, UCI students proved that if they can dodge bikes in Aldrich Park, they can certainly dodge a ball. UCI now holds the world record for the largest dodgeball game ever played with over 1,725 students in attendance – and it is about time.

Sure, UCLA has a football team, and who cares that Berkeley is ahead of us in national university rankings? Who cares that everyone, for some reason, thinks UCSD is better than us? Who cares that UC Davis has a football team? (Wait, they really have a football team?) But all of that aside, we have a record, guys, and we should be proud of it.

And oh, how the mighty have fallen. The University of Alberta in Canada, the former record-holding school, must be crying in their poutine right about now.

It is my belief that we may have set a slightly more bittersweet record that day for the most UCI students ever in the Bren Events Center at one time. The books will have to be checked on that one but it’s alarming that having one half of the Bren full is a great feat. While 1,745 students is an amazing accomplishment, this means that over 90 percent of the campus did not go.

The event was the dorm room dream of second-year student Sam Shaw. ASUCI caught wind of this and the two teamed up to make it happen. Unfortunately, like some dorm room projects such as Facebook or Napster, this dodgeball game did not land Sam in a feature length film featuring Justin Timberlake.

What the game did do is restore my faith that there are some students on this campus that enjoy and participate in campus activities. Shaw noticed an alarming lack of student participation when planning the beginning stages of the event. He went on to explain to news sources that UCI is still searching for its identity and he wanted to help shape it.
I feel that UCI’s “spirit” identity almost revolves around an underlying theme of not participating. Our lack of school spirit is what defines us in an odd way. Very few students seem to have a problem with this behavior – the 1,725 students at the dodgeball game would disagree. We are a campus of students who enjoy griping about the sports programs, our lack of a football team, and how much “UCI sucks.” It is uniting in a way.

The dodgeball game was sneakily combined into the “UCI Blue and Gold Spirit Rally,” which no one really knew about. Peter the Anteater did an excellent job of psyching me and everyone else up to play some dodgeball only to find out we would be standing on the basketball court with 2,000 of our peers listening to a two-hour pep rally. We were taunted with 700 balls sitting up on the bleachers while team after team (yes, we have sports teams) was introduced by the emcee. The remarks heard from the crowd were alarming:

“Wait, I didn’t know we had golf here.”

“Dude, I’m gonna leave.”

“It’s a trap!”

The teams spoke longingly of how much they would appreciate the kind of crowd that showed up for the event and their upcoming rivalries (yes, we have rivalries).

What was designed to be a means to excite students about the upcoming athletic season seemed to simply draw groans from the students. The only thing standing in between 2,000 students and 700 dodge balls was our athletic program. It’s hard to show your appreciation and support for women’s golf when they are standing in the way while you are throwing balls at your classmates.

Perhaps a full-force attempt to instill school spirit was a little much; some of us just wanted to play dodgeball.

Regardless, the dodgeball game was the best glimpse of what we as a united student body could be. My only fear is that our record could very well be in jeopardy if certain schools decide to kick into record-setting gear. In order for a record to stand in the record book, it must be held until the end of the year. This means any school could come in and swoop our record in the next three months.

Having our record beat in future years might be a good thing. I would love for this event to continue to grow. Perhaps having our record beat will be a kick in the ass to get even more students together the next year. Or perhaps, we will move on to set a world record for something entirely different. Perhaps we could see how many people we can cram onto a campus shuttle, a record which anyone with an 8 a.m. class will argue is set on a daily basis.

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