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Recapping Relays 2017-18










By Ahon Gooptu

The year was 1973, Wayne Moyer, political science, had not long before arrived in Grinnell. And with him, he brought Grinnell’s beloved Relays.

“The idea of spring festivities is very old but [in an attempt] to try to bring that back … we held the first relays in the spring of ’73. And it was very much like you saw it over this last weekend, except that the beer was outside,” said Moyer, who supported two sophomores of the class of 1975 in their successful attempt to obtain funding from SGA for three kegs of beer for the first Relays.

The inspiration came from the Berkeley-Calhoun Olympics held between two residential colleges of Yale University. During his time at Yale, Moyer had been associated with one of the colleges.

“It’s a stage of the semester when everybody is really uptight prior to exams. It is also a stage when the weather, which has been a long winter, becomes really nice,” Moyer said. “[Relays] provides an opportunity just to relax, have a good time, to pull yourself away from your studies for a few hours.”

Relays got bigger and bigger throughout the 1970s until the drinking age was changed in 1987.

The games looked a little different then, when the drinking age was only 18. “The all-favorite event is what we would call the Milwaukee beverage relay, baseball style, where you chugged a beer at each of the three bases. That one is, of course, no longer possible,” Moyer said.

Many events have been modified over the years, such as the infamous bat relay.

“You used to chug a beer before you went down to the bat and we used real bats and you actually put them on the ground and you actually circle[d] around it ten times,” Moyer said. “Then it is impossible to walk in a straight line. So people were taking various parabolic trajectories, sometimes falling on their faces in the process.”

Shannon Hautzinger ’18, who has been a member of the Relays Committee every spring that she has been in at Grinnell, felt content after organizing the event one last time.

“This year we got 70 teams, which is more than we’ve ever had before,” she said. “And it was kind of intimidating, ’cause I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, how are we going to make this happen?’ But it ended up working out fine. I think that’s what I’m most proud of.”

Moyer was impressed with the organization of this year’s Relays. “This one was the best-organized that I remember from the last few years. And fortunately, we had a good day too,” he said. “The spirit was very much like the first one: having fun and laughing at each other.”

There were minor complaints about this year’s event. “We got the biggest grill we could get and it takes time to cook food, no matter what,” Hautzinger said. Despite getting the largest grill possible there were still long lines for food, which sparked complaints.

The sound system also posed some issues, and the organizers received some complaints. “The sound system could have been better too,” Hautzinger said. “In past years, we got megaphones.”

She hopes that the next committee will be able to deal with these issues more efficiently. But, at the end of the day, she was glad that there was no rain, which allowed everyone to enjoy all the events to their fullest.

“I always love the shaving cream and cheese balls and the kind of debauchery that ensues at the end of the event,” Hautzinger said. “It’s always really fun and it’s a good way to reflect on the entire day. Everyone’s just running around, but for the most part, having a good time.”


Top left photo: (From left to right) Artis Curiskis ’18, Zack Stice ’21, Jackson Breshears ’21, Andrew Tucker ’21, William DuBow ’21, Dawson Keller ’21, Alex Mickus ’21 and Anthony Gulve ’20 hang out as a team. Top right photo: (From left to right) Mahira Faran ’20, Pratik Karki ’20, Ben Lim ’19, Reed Winter ’21 and James Msekela ’20 show off fun costumes. Bottom left photo: (From left to right): Sydney Kasper ’19, Lauren Acker ’19, Bryce Lew ’19, Kiara Borosky ’19 and Ronnie Ruse ’19 show their team spirit. Bottom right photo: (Clockwise) Simo Bambi ’20, Valencia Alvarez ’20, Zuhayr Alam ’20, Izzy Herring ’20, Lauren Edwards ’20 and Duncan Ward ’20 form a human pyramid. Photos by Sarah Ruiz.
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