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The Student News Site of Drake University

The Times-Delphic

The Student News Site of Drake University

The Times-Delphic

Unofficial Relays drinking tradition

Hecker is a first-year magazines major and can be contacted at

Though I may only be a first-year, I have already heard about an unofficial tradition associated with Relays: drinking.

Yes, this is college and consuming alcohol happens everywhere, anytime of the year — both legally and illegally. What I’m wondering is how this idea of being drunk throughout Relays came to be considered a good idea among some of my fellow Bulldogs.

Having observed the consequences of drinking from DUIs to rehab, I tend to have a very negative outlook on those who choose to drink themselves into a state of oblivion. Somehow, I’ve managed to have fun without consuming alcohol and have been able to remember those enjoyable moments the following day.

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I’m not here to preach to anyone as a mother, interventionist or therapist about the consequences of drinking. However, I would like to make those of you who drink aware of how important it is to be responsible for yourself.

For years, we begged our parents to treat us like adults. Now that we’ve achieved that magic age of 18-plus, why not act in a manner that would earn the adult respect we crave from our parents and guardians? I don’t know about your families, but if either of my parents discovered I’d been blackout drunk, I would be on the first plane home faster than you could say “keg.”

OK, so maybe you think your parents will never know, or you just don’t care what they think. Then let me ask you something: How does excessive drinking benefit you? Do you think it takes away your problems?

If you answered my second question in the affirmative, I hate to be the one to break it to you, but whatever it is you’re struggling with isn’t going to magically disappear once you reach the bottom of your glass. Those student loans and chemistry tests will still be waiting for you even after you pull through that pesky hangover.

Perhaps your biggest problem during Relays is how to manage to stay drunk throughout all the activities. A friend mentioned hearing this particular plight of a fellow student and remarked on how it must be quite tiresome to remain in a state alternating between drunkenness and hangovers. I must say, I agree with my friend.

I applaud those of you who are determined to steer clear of this unofficial Relays tradition. I highly doubt that Street Painting or the parade will have increased in quality under the influence of alcohol.

For those of you intent upon partaking in the consumption of alcohol, I will advise you to know your limits and not to try to pass them. Be aware of the people around you.

Be in control of your drinks. Know who’s mixed them and the alcohol content. If you’re going to drink, do it responsibly.

At the risk of sounding cliché and motherly, I challenge all of you to make good decisions, not only during Relays, but always.

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  • K

    Kim - J '91Apr 27, 2012 at 2:37 pm

    I’m many years removed from Relays but still fairly confident that drinking is not an UN-official tradition. If so, then I need another explanation for the Relays-branded Peggy’s t-shirts and plastic cups stored in my basement. A more useful attitude might be to acknowledge that yes, given the spring timing and festivities of Relays… students WILL partake. Take responsibility for your own actions, but also watch out for those who have over-indulged and impaired their own judgement.

  • P

    PeggyApr 26, 2012 at 9:06 pm

    There is nothing “unofficial” about this tradition. If you ask any upperclassman or alum they will tell you it is the ONLY tradition…except for a few rumors about a track meet nearby.

  • T

    TruthApr 25, 2012 at 6:49 pm

    “Despite cross-cultural variations, the central fact remains that in all cultures where alcohol is used, drinking is an essential element of celebration.”1 Drinking, whether you agree with it or not, has been and will continue to be a way of bonding and celebration for millenniums. I respect your choice not to drink and am not encouraging people to drink (wait similar to the article, I will go on to say something that is hypocritical with what I just said). You don’t have to drink to get drunk. Partaking in adult beverages has always been a way to celebrate. Relays is a time before finals where you can celebrate the semester/year and look back on what you have accomplished. Spending time with friends and making new friends gives you an opportunity to relax before finals week. I am a senior, and I hope after your ignorance of freshman year has left you that you will respect the celebration that occurs during Relays week. We celebrate the academic year, the “stress” of college, and the companionship of the fellow Drake community. Yes you can have fun without alcohol, but can you have fun being judgmental and hypocritical? “Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.” -Martin Luther King, Jr (2)


  • F

    FreshieSayWhat?Apr 25, 2012 at 6:15 pm

    As a fellow “first-year”, I do not think think this article even had the chance to be perceived well. I don’t care what you do on your own time, but don’t be a Negative Nancy/Mother Hen to the rest of us. The mentality at Drake, as told to me before I even came here, was that students work hard and play hard. We all have our own definitions of fun. Now get down off your self-proclaimed pedestal.

  • A

    AdamApr 25, 2012 at 1:48 pm

    You’ve seen bad things happen from alcohol and don’t want to drink? Cool, that is totally your choice. For the rest of us, college is the only time in our lives where being drunk for 3 days in a row is socially acceptable. College is a time to do things you don’t get to do once you make it into the “real world” Live it up while you can.

  • G

    give her a breakApr 25, 2012 at 1:35 pm

    It’s an opinion piece and she’s just sharing her opinion on the topic. Over my 4 years at Drake now, I’ve seen many of my peers use alcohol extensively especially during Relays. I’ve seen peers who usually do not drink do it for the first time during relays and lose control. The author never mentioned that 99% percent of Drake is in a state of “drunken oblivion” as you mentioned. She said that she has a negative outlook because of her observations. I knew many people who would wake up and drink before classes start. You are also entitled to your opinions, but you can’t just ignore the fact that drinking seems to overshadow the Races or the fact that people attend the events like the Pancake Breakfast after getting drunk.

  • S

    Spike Loves RelaysApr 25, 2012 at 1:31 pm

    I’ll buy you a mug tonight at Peggys! See you there with your fake.

  • R

    Really?Apr 25, 2012 at 1:07 pm

    Why did this get published? An opinion about Relays week drinking from a freshman who obviously has no experience with it… Good for a laugh, but not much else.

  • J

    JoeApr 25, 2012 at 1:00 pm

    Completely agree with Bridget’s comment, and I’d like to add another small issue in this article: how is someone who has not only never consumed alcohol before, but never been to Relays qualified to pass out judgements and “advice” to students and alumni who have been through Relays many times and many of whom balance alcohol, school, work and other responsibilities? Not only is this writing thoroughly pretentious, it’s based entirely on uninformed observations and assumptions. A junior, senior, or grad student reflecting on their own experiences with drinking & Relays over several years would be a much more authoritative perspective.

  • B

    BridgetApr 25, 2012 at 12:47 am

    This is obnoxious and pretentious. “I’m not here to preach” – except for that is what the entire article is doing. First of all, she’s a freshman who has not been here to experience relays in the past. 99% of Drake students are NOT in a constant state of “drunken oblivion,” they will however, go to a bar at night after a full day’s worth of classes and homework. Also, the writer failed to address the fact that at least half of Drake students ARE of legal drinking age, and she has no place telling them how to drink.
    Overall I find this article very immature and unsubstantiated.