Chicago physical therapist Dana Barone was walking to Ida Noyes Hall Sunday morning to help train some cyclists in the Monsters of the Midway bicycle tournament when a group came running toward her.
"I saw students running in underwear and carrying what looked like torches, and in 40-degree weather," Barone said. "And then later I saw these kids were catapulting things into the air and pouring green food coloring over each other."
Barone was one of several participants in the cycling tournament who stumbled upon ScavOlympics, capping off Scav Hunt 2003, the yearly celebration of sheer zaniness that discredits the University's reputation for sobriety and dullness. A series of competitions before the judging of Scav Hunt items, ScavOlympics allowed teams to garner more points while still exemplifying the absurdity and fun of Scav Hunt.
After the points were tallied, the judges announced the Scav Hunt winner in the evening. First place went to Max Palevsky, who was also last year's champion. Shoreland and Snell-Hitchcock placed second and third respectively. "We're just the best," said Jessica Younker, a first-year and page captain for the Palevsky team. "We won because we had good organization and everyone was unified."
To celebrate the victory, Palevsky's 40 to 50 team members "took over the Med," according to Younker.
The Shoreland team, calling themselves "The Outfit," was the biggest surprise this year at Scav Hunt, having placed fifth the year before. "The Outfit" went to great lengths this year to ensure their success in Scav Hunt, including playing Tetris using the Shoreland building as a screen.
Josh Mercer, a fourth-year in the College and the Shoreland team's co-captain, attributed Shoreland's success to determination, creativity, and a revitalized Scav Hunt spirit.
"This was the best Scav Hunt I've had yet and I'm not speaking in terms of place, but in terms of how fun it was," Mercer said. "We won. Place really doesn't matter. We embodied the Scav Hunt spirit. I noticed. The judges noticed. The other teams noticed. Even the administration and housing officials have noticed."
Among the competitions at this year's ScavOlympics, teams had to race a self-controlled giant breast across the Midway into a cup. Other contests included a parallel parking park-off, a rock-paper-scissors tournament, and a human jump rope competition with team members as the jump ropes.
Earlier Saturday, the Scav Hunt teams participated in a real-life version of Mario Kart by dressing up their team members as characters from the Nintendo video game and racing through the quads in a go-cart. Aaron Levine, a first-year in the College, drove the Pierce cart as the character Princess Peach, wearing a pink dress and a tiara. Pierce's cart, constructed from a dolly and two fire extinguishers, worried some spectators at the start of the race.
"From what I heard, people had 911 on the cell phones in case the extinguishers exploded or the go-cart turned over," Levine said. "We thought the cart would be self-propelled by the extinguishers, but when that didn't happen, I still had some team members push me around."
Pierce placed third in the race, earning extra points for the fire extinguishers and the dress.
The rest of Sunday was devoted to Judgment Day--the period when teams gather each item found or performed from the hallowed Scav Hunt list and present it to the judges, who award points based on if items were actually on the list or reasonable facsimiles.
Lorrie Edwards, a second-year in the College, came to Ida Noyes representing the Snell-Hitchcock team, a traditional powerhouse in Scav Hunt. According to Edwards, her best and favorite activity was singing to the judges about pina coladas--and alkenes.
"I wrote the song, and then put it to music using 'The Pina Colada Song'; it was so much fun," Edwards said, emphasizing that having fun during Scav Hunt is the true meaning of the event.
"I think this year Snell-Hitchcock was focused less on winning than having fun," Edwards said of her team. "Before, we were more gung-ho to play to win. Now, we're just enjoying ourselves."
Patrick LaVictoire, a second-year in the College and a page captain for Shoreland, recalled the difficulty the Shoreland residents had for Scav Hunt when he enlisted 10 people to recite from memory the monologue found on rock musician Andrew WK's Web site, which was 20,000 words long. "The judges were treated, then, to a rotating performance of such phrases as, 'Our time has come! It has arrived, and it's a good thing that it's come now and not a moment later or it would have come too late,'" LaVictoire said. "The memorized monologue simply kept going, from person to person, for more than half an hour."
"The Outfit" received 270 points for their performance.
Many Shorelanders who participated in Scav Hunt this year look forward to greater involvement in next year's competition. Russell Statler, a first-year in the College, helped recite the Andrew WK monologue. Next year, Statler plans to up his involvement in the spring-quarter madness. "I want to do more for Scav Hunt," Statler said, "Even if it means sacrificing grades and sleep."