The run of shame
A flash and a moon during football’s opening day delay
On the Saturday of our opening football game against BYU, I was among those fleeing for their lives from the menacing clouds over Scott Stadium. Fortunately, I hold one of the greatest honors a student of Jefferson’s University can hold: having a sister on the Lawn. So, while random students ran for their lives, Mormon families huddled together waiting for the end, and the true fans moved up to better seats, I watched the opposing fans’ dreams of relevance once again fade away in dry and comfortable surroundings.
Despite the quiet rumbles delaying the start of the game for several hours and the subsequent 12 minutes of apocalyptic rainfall, the weather ended up being a nice change of pace from August’s oppressive heat and humidity. When the meteorological outburst started to subside, Lawnies and Lawnie-in-laws, such as myself, started to scuttle out of the rooms just in time to see the de facto halftime show: five naked men sprinting away from the Rotunda in broad daylight.
Though I am a second-year, this was my first experience of the time-honored tradition even as a spectator — in my defense, I spent most of my first year miles away in Gooch-At-least-it’s-not-Hereford-Dillard — where most people aren’t aware there is a Lawn. Because of this and the sheer audacity of the streakers, I probably paid closer attention to them than I should have.
They began as a single entity — a beast with five backs — splashing briskly through the wet grass. Like me, some people watched from the side, but others who had been playing catch decided to participate by having target practice. Undeterred, the group moved out of sight without breaking rank.
After some children’s cries and a small police chase, the bodies were out of sight. Moments later, a lone figure came bounding back into sight. Rather than slowing down, he had found some internal source of strength and moved faster than he had at the start. He broke all association with the group behind him as he pursued his moment of triumph. The crowd recognized his superior conditioning and he finished to a roar of applause.
Three more runners came into view, showing signs of fatigue but staying roughly together. They did not receive the same warm reception as the first, though their forthcoming achievement nonetheless was fueling their drive to run.
All eyes turned to the final runner, although this quickly proved to be a misnomer. He was moving in a way vaguely resembling jogging but at the pace of a walk. He got to the last plateau and stopped. He leaned onto his knees and gasped as if he had just run a marathon. Maybe he was expecting a show of support from the audience to push him to the finish line — he didn’t get it.
It was a dark moment for the school. BYU fans would surely take this as a sign of our collective weakness. Eventually the game resumed and a fourth quarter interception and winning touchdown sent cheers down the Lawn. Walking home I saw a number of glum visitors, so sure of victory only minutes earlier. Junior safety Anthony Harris did more than win a game; he reaffirmed the strength and spirit of all Wahoos. All except for one.