Hodes knows best: Big Weekend

by Alex Hodes | 5/15/08 5:09am

With another big weekend upon us, I have been asked to explain its athletic significance. Homecoming centers around a football game. Winter Carnival, supposedly, has something to do with ski races. What then of Green Key?

Your guess is as good as mine.

Apparently, there used to be some kind of chariot race on the Green, which replaced the much more violent, and seemingly much more fun, Gauntlet. But all of this has receded into Dartmouth lore.

Still, don't think the only thing to do over Green Key is drink yourself into a stupor -- that is just one of the many available options the fun police have not yet taken away.

If you are interested in actual athletic competition, the crew team will be facing off against elite competition in this weekend's Eastern Sprints. Anyone feeling intrepid enough to make the trek down to Worcester, Mass., on Sunday morning will get the chance to see Dartmouth compete in one of the sport's biggest races. And who wouldn't want to watch the lightweights defend last year's championship? And if that's not enough to entice you, who wouldn't want to watch Emerson Curry '08 in the manliest of leotards?

I know, I know. You don't want to limit your boozing opportunities. We can work around that. You're probably thinking the extent of your athletic endeavors consist of you passed out on the couch watching playoff basketball.

That could be the case, but it need not be.

Instead, why not engage in a friendly game of campus golf? Obviously, getting you out on an actual course will be near-impossible, so bring the course to you. All you need is a 7-iron, a tennis ball, and a few road beers. But of course, play at your own risk.

Unfortunately, campus golf requires daylight. And as we all know, you might not be making it outside this weekend, excepting a few hours of decadence each night. That's okay. There's still a way for you to get your swell on without making it to the gym. Engage in a Dartmouth beer drinker's version of the decathlon: a circuit. You know the drill.

Head from house to house, making a loop through campus, consuming a single beer in each establishment. Reach the finish line, and you'll be deserving of a nice, cold one to help you relax. It's the ultimate test of endurance.

Well, that and completing the entire Dartmouth Seven in a single night.

Pause for emphasis.

You think I'm pulling at straws? The truth is you won't remember a single thing after this weekend. It will all be a giant blur. I can confidently say that after four years worth of big weekends, they are all the same. Your best memories from college won't come from a forced weekend of bingeing and debauchery. Sure, those weekends are fun, but they tend not to be distinguishable from one another. Instead, just enjoy the weekend. That's all you can really hope for.

You see, as the year winds down, and most Dartmouth teams have completed their seasons, or for the seniors, their careers, now is the time to relax. Focus your attention elsewhere before re-entering what can best be described as the real world. For all the newly-minted "non-ers", there's fun to be had.

Recently, I learned of the initial resistance to intercollegiate athletics as such competition was spreading across campuses nationwide roughly a century ago. Apparently, Dartmouth upperclassmen were concerned with the ways in which intercollegiate competition might intrude on the delicate balance that had been established in Hanover. Before athletes were forced to sacrifice immense blocks of time for the sake of training, practice and competition, they were free to devote themselves to what they viewed as more pressing endeavors. No, I'm not talking about their studies. Don't be silly. Rather, I am talking about a far more sacred tradition: hazing the freshmen.

Not to worry freshmen, I'm not trying to pick on you as your class excitedly awaits its first Green Key that is sure to end with several intoxicated incarcerations. But for the seniors, this is our last big weekend before we join the ranks of awkward alumni. Restoring a lost campus dynamic on our way out the door is the least we can do. After all, you're not called non-ers for nothing.