Snell-Hitchcock ties with Max for top Scav Hunt team

By Joe Katz

After four days of sleep deprivation, intellectual improvisation, wince-worthy stunts and promises of wedded bliss, Scav Hunt ’05 proved too close to call.

For just the second time in the 19-year history of Scav Hunt, two teams tied for first place. Defending champion Snell-Hitchcock’s “Armadillo of Darkness” and Max Palevsky’s “Team Fluffy, Destroyer of Worlds” finished within 39 points of each other and the Scav judges ruled that, with such a slim margin, it would be unfair to declare either team the sole victor. The only previous tie took place in 2000, when the Shoreland and Snell-Hitchcock teams were similarly close.

“The difference between the two teams was less than one percent of the total point value. The realization was that over the course of so many items, a little subjectivity could easily swing that gap,” said fourth-year judge Colin McFaul. Judges will not release actual point totals to avoid contention.

Despite the historically bitter Scav Hunt rivalry between Max Palevsky and Snell-Hitchcock, most team members seemed to accept the verdict with equanimity.

“Sharing the victory with them doesn’t detract from our victory. I think that this situation underscores that the most important part of Scav Hunt isn’t beating everyone else—it’s doing great things with your team,” said fourth-year “Armadillo of Darkness” co-captain Lauren Beitler.

Fourth-year Vanessa Stan, the co-captain of Shoreland’s “Emperor Strikes Back,” similarly shrugged off the fourth-place ranking for Shoreland’s team. “Our goal this year was to have a lot of fun and use a lot of duct tape,” she said.

Most participants agreed with the sentiments expressed by Beitler, Stan and fourth-year Sam Smith, co-captain of the Federation of Independent Scav Hunt Teams’s (FIST) “Less _____, More Ümläüt,” who commented that his team “didn’t care that much” about their third-place finish.

“Our motto is ‘fuck shit up,'” Smith said. “We want to have a good time and do interesting things, and lots of them. When else will you get to run a watermelon off Ryerson on a zipline?”

Smith expressed some pride, however, over FIST’s win for one item. “The beautiful thing was that we found someone gonzo enough to be circumcised.”

In a move destined to be recounted with many a shudder for years to come, Doug Diamond, a 2004 alumnus, took the “unkindest cut of all” for his team. While several other teams attempted to fake their way through item #8 (Get circumcised), Diamond was able to provide actual medical records.

“Unfortunately, we couldn’t provide before-and-after photographic evidence, but I suppose that’s understandable,” Smith said.

Diamond was not the only participant to take one for the team over the weekend, as accidents with butane lighters and sledgehammers sent at least two people to the hospital. Hopefully, their injuries will not prevent them from enjoying Item 162,, Snell-Hitchcock’s working hook-up parody of the Facebook.

Other prominent items included 2004 election foosball tables that sometimes lean left and sometimes lean right, self-built calliopes, edible movable-type printing presses, and penny smashers. In a tribute to the 1980s classic Say Anything, two members of the Snell-Hitchcock team stationed themselves outside Eckhart with a boombox and a watering can, serenading mathematics professor Paul Sally, who reportedly responded by sticking his head out the window and yelling at them.

Scav Hunt participants also took advantage of the creative interpretation encouraged by the event, such as a presentation of item 145, “Shampoo for real friends,” for which fourth-year member of the Shoreland team, Nick Heavens, provided real poo for his sham friends.

This year’s road trip, an integral Scav event, sent team members on a tour of Lake Michigan, through Wisconsin, Michigan, and Canada, on a mad dash to find the Golden Spider Monk, wrestle the Haudag, and convince college students in Madison to sing the Badger fight song with them.

Saturday’s Scav Olympics featured such contests as Office Sprace, which involved destroying office equipment, “Helen Keller Twister,” in which team members must be blindfolded and silent, and Event 15, in which teams were asked to produce trebuchet “weapons of math destruction” to destroy “Halliburton-Judson.”

Friday night’s annual tribute to Big 10 parties featured the “Kiddie Adult Party”-themed Max Palevsky tent. Team Fluffy’s three-year old birthday bash featured a priest “there for the children” and a game of “Pin the Tail on the Fluffy Bunny” with a Playboy bunny among other examples of disturbing behavior.

Scav always has the potential to change the course of lives, which was notably realized for fourth-year Burton-Judson captain Nora Friedman, who proposed to McFaul as part of Judgment Day festivities.

Item 282 included the lyrics to the Meatloaf song “I Would Do Anything For Love (But I Won’t Do That),” and Item 283 instructed team members to “Do that.” Friedman had been joking about proposing since she first saw the items, and after her team had received full credit for a comic book featuring Meatloaf’s adventures of the University of Chicago, mentioned the idea to 2001 alumnus judge Connor Coyne.

“Connor said, ‘I want to see that item,’ and it just sort of happened,” Friedman said.

The newly engaged Friedman could afford to be philosophical about her team’s last-place finish. “We always get last. It’s where we belong,” she said.

Other participating teams included a tie at fifth between Broover, the Breckenridge-Hoover alliance, and Pierce, the seventh place Broadview team; and the Vegan team, who came in eighth.