COLUMN BY ADAM ROGAN
Drake Relays is practically upon us. It starts in less than two weeks.
Seniors are looking for their last collegiate hoorah, to burn the candle at both ends one more time before facing the next step: the real world, an actual job, having to pay rent and a utility bill and hopefully not having to rely on Ramen and coffee to survive anymore while somehow trying to maintain some semblance of a social life.
First-years, freshmen – whatever you want to call them – are preparing for their first Relays, quietly anxious to experience something they may not be ready for. It’s a new experience, something they know they should be excited for, but perhaps aren’t sure why.
What we do know is that campus is going to shut down with the influx of alums, naïve parents, media, athletes, wannabe fratboys and has-beens coming back to relive the college days. Peggy’s tent is going to go up and drinks (a whole lot of them) are going to go down.
For now, the sense of anxiousness is bubbling. It doesn’t really begin until Street Painting on April 22 when the paint bubble pops (preferably not in my hair) and the inciting event is passed. We’re in the fray, even if the Jim Duncan Track won’t see its first competition until Thursday.
The weird part is, most Drake students won’t even step foot in the stands, get a hot dog and cheer on professional and collegiate competitors as runners splash in the steeplechase or hurdlers hurdle hurdles alongside their fellow alliterative athletes.
As much hullaballoo, hubbub, history, uproar, mystique and story that surrounds the Drake Relays, the event is no longer about athletics for the pupils of Drake University. Yes, a few hundred of students make appearances, but compared to the nearly 4,000 people enrolled in the school, it’s a meager turnout in the mass of the 10,000-plus daily attendees comprised mostly of alumni, locals and outside track fans.
In the end, I’m just imploring. There are going to be past, present and future Olympians here, not to mention some of best athletes that Drake and other colleges nationwide have to offer. Our Relays may not be quite as renowned as the Olympics or feature as wide an array of events, but the talent on display is on par with the best the world has ever seen.
Go, take a couple hour break from early finals studying or maybe show up a little bit later to the house party that wasn’t going to be all that fun or memorable anyways. You might see a world record get broken or someone fall on a hurdle. One of those might be more impressive as the other, but they both make a good story to tell to your folks back home.