On the grass behind Odell's Pond, Lee Dickinson '08 prepares himself for the race. One by one his teammates sprint through the relay, bursting a balloon at one end of the track before sprinting back. The last person tags Dickinson and he's off, limping slightly from an injured knee but with large strides that cover the ground to the end of the track. He stops, pops his balloon and makes it back over the line -- just in time. "Team Lollipop" has won its first event in the "Battle of the Colleges."
As cheers go up from teammates and onlookers, Dickinson gives off a tired smile. "Living at HWS is great," he admits, "I'll be sad to leave."
The balloon-bursting relay race was just one of dozens of competitions held at the "Battle of the Colleges" field day event. Senior Week's other activities have it all: a kaleidoscope of celebrations, dinners, speakers and other important events. But Tuesday's "Battle" leaves the seriousness behind; it's a chance to kick back and have some pure, unadulterated fun and games.
As if celebrating their last dose of college life, the Classes of 2008 have turned out in force for the event. Some are sporting T-shirts from the Senior Day of Service that read "We were here before…" and on the reverse, a litany of people, places and events that happened in the short time while this group of students was in college: "We were here before Facebook," reads one, "…the Red Sox broke the curse," says another, or "…Youtube existed." A few are closer to home: "We were here before Professor Baer was Dean Baer."
Looking over the tables of snacks and the dozens of HWS students who turned up to compete, share some food or simply to get outside, one senior, Jenny Quirindongo feels nostalgic. "We've all worked hard for four years," she says. "Our upcoming Commencement is the culmination of all that -- I'm sure there will be lots of crying!"
Someone picks up the microphone and the games change from the relay to three-legged races and a tug-of-war. The Classes of 2008 battle it out for supremacy, laughing and smiling all the way, but everyone here feels the bitter-sweetness of the timing. "Seize the day," hundreds of seniors are thinking, "our time here is almost done."