STORY BY ETHAN FICKAU
Last Thursday, students stepped up to the plate to show off their batting skills and forget about their impending final exams for a while.
Throughout the afternoon, people stood in the batter’s box in Helmick Commons armed with a big bat as they smashed wiffle balls over the orange home run fence.
Each person tried to set the record and take home a trophy at the Pomerantz Student Union Wiffle Ball Home Run Derby.
One participant, Gerald Tetzlaff, said that it reminded him of the old days of playing wiffle ball in his neighborhood.
“Just like flying kites, it brings you back to your childhood playing wiffle ball,” said Tetzlaff.
Tetzlaff said that the derby was a welcome break from a full day’s load of homework and the trophies were a big motivator to do well.
Tetzlaff hopes to see a lot more wiffle ball activities next school year.
“Maybe a week of wiffle ball activities. So not only a home run derby, but one night there would be a game in the same spot with bases and teams. I will definitely bring more of my friends next time too.”
First-year Emily Lambie also joined in on the fun and said she had a blast taking part in the competition.
“It was a lot of fun. It was just a great atmosphere. I don’t think I stopped laughing the whole time I was there,” Lambie said. “It was fun coming in a dress and hitting the crap out of those wiffle balls. I definitely want there to be another derby. I want another chance to win a trophy because who doesn’t love trophies?”
Lambie said that the only thing she would like to see improved is the event’s advertising.
“The posters were good, but social media would help publicize it more,” Lambie said. “Talking to people in the dorms about it would help people know about it more.”
Even though there were many students who came to hit home runs, others came out just to watch and enjoy the show.
First-year Lainie Fickau said it was like being at a major league baseball game.
“It was really cool,” Fickau said. It was great to see something so new at Drake. I think it was unique because it was all-inclusive. It’s great because you have the competitive students who want to beat each other’s score and then you have those who want to sit in the sunshine and watch and that’s cool too. The event was designed to benefit both kinds of people.”
Fickau laughed when she was asked if she would like to take some swings at the next derby.
“If my arms haven’t fallen off (from rowing practice) then why not?” she said.
The event was co-organized by the Student Life Center and a couple of students. Associate Dean of Students Jerry Parker helped put the derby into full swing.
Though he was unavailable for an interview, he was seen on Thursday pitching to some of the batters and, at one point, taking his own turn at the plate.
With music blaring over some speakers and the sun shining bright over Helmick Commons, most of the event’s participants were smiling nonstop all afternoon.
At the end of the derby, first, second and third place winners were awarded trophies for most individual home runs and for pairs combined home runs.
According to the participants and the observers, the event was a huge success and many are looking forward to next year’s home run derby.