The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

Games within games

Shivering athletes weren’t the only point of interest at the Jan. 2 men’s basketball game against Niagara.

At halftime and during time outs, to keep fans in the spirit of the game, St. John’s employs a variety of giveaways, contests and raffles, in addition to the performances of the pep band, dance team, and cheerleading squad. Jan. 2 was the swan song for one: it was the last time two kids attempted to ram Thunder with remote-controlled cars as he danced around center court. In this game, the first one to hit Thunder with a truck wins a prize.

Although entertaining in a violent, absurd way, this little game captured the attention of the fans more than any slingshot-launched tee shirt, and I am disappointed that it seems to have been discontinued.

The contests were memorable. Possibly too much so-I remember few details of the Niagara game itself but can easily recall Thunder fleeing from a sporadically jerking RC car to the laughter and applause of the crowd. I do not believe the athletic department would discontinue a contest for having so wildly succeeded with it.

Perhaps the problem was that electronics pose difficulties which the others games-free throws, donning an oversized uniform and attempting to make a shot-do not.

On Jan. 2, the last time the game was run, one of the participants had great difficulty controlling his car. Whether he didn’t know how to operate the controls or if they were damaged, the fans never knew. Either way, there was little contest. Thunder had been hit before the second car was on the move, and even then it started going the wrong way. Though Thunder picked the car up and dropped it at center court, the contestant still couldn’t manage control of his car.

Yet blowouts like that are not all that uncommon, even among the more sports-themed competitions. Anyone attending the UConn game will remember the two contestants shooting from the key, where the young girl hit so many shots that Huskies-and some dejected Red Storm-fans were taunting Mike Jarvis, suggesting that he sign her to the team.

I can’t understand why a game so popular with the crowd seems to have stopped. If the athletic department is concerned with a player’s inability to control his car, it should be easy to require that the contestant demonstrate his or her competence beforehand.

Contestants for the other games don’t just come down from the stands; they’ve been prepared to play. If the problem is the equipment, the cars could be tested before the game without much trouble. With both players and equipment functional, there’s nothing to stop a good game.

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