For an all too fleeting moment on Friday afternoon, several elements of childhood nostalgia – Halloween costumes, junk food and American Gladiators – came together in one event, the 2007 HL Central 1L Cup. Battling cloudy skies and muddy fields, classroom luminaries and Langdell superstars traded in their casebooks for hula skirts, army fatigues and even a full-body cow suit.
After weeks of guarded glances as they passed each other in the hallways of Pound, the seven 1L sections were finally able to release the tension and battle for everlasting glory among their peers.
The afternoon was orchestrated by Michael Glick ’08, and awe filled the air as he called for last year’s MVP, a dapperly dressed Matt Shinners ’09, to bring forth the Cup.
The actual competition started with the “First Impression” competition where the sections were scored on their costumes, banners and cheers. Dean of Students Ellen Cosgrove and Assistant Director for Student Activities Anne Marie Calareso were honorary judges for the event.
Demonstrating early on their level of dedication, preparation and heart, each section put forth a strong showing. Section I’s Hawaiian theme and a pre-game ritual war dance lifted from the New Zealand All-Blacks held on to take the event. The Thrice Goring Oxen of Section VI stampeded through their banner and Section VII’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles outfits complemented their creative (“Harvard in a Half Shell”) banners and cries of “Smackdown!”
The competition remained close through the banana-between-the-legs race and the Hershey kisses in applesauce relay, where 1Ls had to pull the chocolates out of a bowl of applesauce without using their hands.
The fourth event of the septathlon was new to the competition and was created by the International Cup Organizational Committee (ICOC) to further test students’ oral dexterity. Fifteen students from each section had to pass regular pretzels down their line using only pretzel rods in their mouth to hang the pretzels on.
As always seems to be the case when the stakes are so high, controversy again reared its ugly head when certain sections started passing more than one pretzel at a time, but the all-star officiating crew were able to resolve the issue faster than Roger Goodell dealt with some equally egregious cheating in the NFL.
The pivotal event of the day turned out to be the eating competition. Unlike last year, where brave souls were forced to deal with homemade brownies by Glick, this year’s eaters were asked to polish off a full box of 36 chocolate chip cookies.
Some competitors took a page out of Takeru Kobayashi’s book and soaked the cookies in water, Gatorade or even beer before taking them down. Eventual Cup MVP Julian Thompson ’10 decided to swallow them four at a time. However, he hit the wall on the last row of cookies, opening the door for Nicholas Perros ’10 of Section VI to power through the finish. Perros’s margin of victory over the next closest eater was a record 2 minutes and 31 seconds.
Coming into the final event, Section VII was in the lead after quietly taking top-tier points in each one of the previous events. The “Torture Game” event tested all of the 1Ls abilities as their victim was wrapped in toilet paper, covered in shaving cream, stuffed with marshmallows and had their nails painted. Section V finished their untidy business of torturing Peter Ostrovski ’10 first, but Section VII held on to win the Cup.
The final standings had Section VII in first place with 58 points followed by Section III with 43 points and Section V.The celebration culminated with the presentation of the Cup and champagne spray filled the air. After losing to Section VI last year in the closest 1L Cup final standings ever, the victory was even sweeter for the youngest of sections.
Section VII wasn’t surprised at all with the outcome and their “total domination” according to Britanie Hall ’10. Amid the general revelry, she managed to comment, “We have such great camaraderie in our section and are all blessed with cat-like reflexes, the speed of mongooses, extremely good looks and brains Oliver Wendell Holmes would envy – who could possibly have beaten us? The Section 7 Ninja Turtle Smackdown was out-of-control!”
Another year has passed for HL Central’s premier intersection athletic event, but the spirit of competition lives on in the dreams of all the Harvard Law School applicants who begin their training to achieve ultimate glory next fall.