Fieldstock limited by bad weather

by Amelia Acosta and Angie Cho | 8/13/12 10:00pm

Many Fieldstock events were canceled due to poor weather and safety concerns, including the popular annual chariot races.
by James Peng / The Dartmouth

Opening ceremonies were followed by a variety show for all registered teams, Goodell said. Though this part of the weekend events "went really well," closing ceremonies did not occur because "no one showed up on time," he said.

Instead, students were able to attend the first-ever "Live @ the Bema" concert, featuring Brent Knight, All About Gladys, the Chris Kleeman Band and student band TOAST, composed of Zack Cutler '14, Alex Brown '14, Alexander Arnold '14 and Ryan McWilliams '14.

"Having TOAST in concert was definitely a highlight," Goodell said.

The mechanical bull-riding event also drew a large crowd, he said, though it had to be moved indoors and was rescheduled from Friday to Saturday due to rain.

Laser tag, a kickball tournament, a relay race on Saturday and a "Pancake Paddle" event at the Ledyard Canoe club were not affected by rain and took place according to schedule, Goodell said.

Before the event, Goodell and Fieldstock co-chair Larry Meadows '14 contacted Party Vision, a New England-based entertainment company, to plan both the laser tag and the mechanical bull-riding events. Party Vision also worked with Greek houses and other campus organizations to co-sponsor events throughout the weekend, Goodell said. Delta Delta Delta sorority had planned to host a relay race, Gamma Delta Chi planned a tug-of-war event and Beta Alpha Omega fraternity planned to sponsor a corn-hole competition, but all three events were canceled due to the weather, Goodell said.

Meghan Cooney '14, who won the Fieldstock volleyball tournament as part of Kappa Delta Epsilon sorority's team, said the weekend was "a blast."

"I really enjoyed Fieldstock, even though the events were limited due to rain," she said. "A lot of my friends were either playing or cheering, and there were a bunch of people out and about competing in good fun."

Though the event "did not seem too well organized," Cooney attributed most problems to the weather, rather than the event's organizers.

"I think Fieldstock was a huge underdog," Cooney said. "I did not really know what was going to be involved in the weekend ahead of time, but I had a ton of fun on Saturday just getting outside with a bunch of friends and being active."

Complications were not only limited to the weather, however, according to Andres Ramirez '14, who competed in the weekend's events as part of the Shebalite team. Ramirez, whose team had intended to compete in all events offered except for the chariot race, said that there were noticeable logistical issues.

"We did our best to compete fairly, but overall we were a little bitter because a lot of teams were not competing as fairly as we thought," Ramirez said. "Some events were disorganized and not all of them had referees to call people out. But overall we enjoyed ourselves and bonded throughout."

Though the weather was a "downer" for the Shebalite team, delaying their participation in both the Amazing Race and Assassins competitions, Ramirez highlighted the Barbecue Cook-Off, hosted outside of the Rockefeller Center to benefit Habitat for Humanity on Friday, as one of the most exciting events for his team.

"Each team was supposed to make a barbecue piece, draw in a crowd and have people donate money in order to sample your food," he said. "They would then vote on which of the items were their favorite. We didn't think we would have time to actually make anything, but we got a group together and managed to finish 15 minutes before the event ended, with three bacon cheeseburgers topped with egg. It was cool to see we could mobilize."

Ramirez said it would be important for future Fieldstock chairs to "know Hanover weather" and always have a backup location in mind.

"Leverone Field House would have been perfect because its such a large space," he said. "Instead of canceling events, they could have just been moved elsewhere. Fieldstock must go on."

The most controversial event of Fieldstock remained the chariot races, which were eventually canceled.

Although Goodell said the races were canceled "mainly because of weather," several racers said they were dissatisfied with their interactions with Collis Center officials and Class Council members before the final call.

Melinda Agron '14, who competed as part of Alpha Phi sorority's team, said her team's chariot was disqualified because it had four wheels instead of two.

"We followed all the specific limitations and rules, but they never said anything about the number of wheels," Agron said. "A representative from Collis Center said at first it wasn't a safety issue, just the fact that we didn't follow the rules, but when we pressed further, she was particularly aloof and changed her story. She said it was a safety concern that some other higher group had decided, but it was all just inconsistent."

Jonele Conceicao '14, Fieldstock chair for Tri-Delt's team, said she saw all but two chariots get disqualified for the race, including her own team's chariot.

"The annoying thing was that our chariot was cleared several hours before the race, so we felt like we just didn't understand what was going on." Conceicao said.

An email was later sent to all Fieldstock competitors on Saturday night addressing the chariot races.

The email, which was signed by 2014 Class Council president Chisom Obi-Okoye '14, Goodell and Meadows, stressed the importance of the safety regulations established by the College's Office of Risk and Internal Controls Services and apologized for any disappointing disqualifications. Although the race was ultimately canceled by the Collis Center due to rain, plans to possibly reschedule the event will be made by Wednesday evening, according to the email.

The email, however, also addressed the "blatant disrespect displayed towards college officials," including the directors of the Collis Center and Safety and Security officers, and condemned students' rudeness as "unacceptable." The negative behavior will be factored into a whether another race will occur or not, according to the email.

"I think everyone was frustrated and the situation escalated," Agron said. "I hope they decide to give the summer tradition another go."

Obi-Okoye is a member of The Dartmouth Business Staff.

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