On your mark – get set – GO! I usually don’t go in for reality TV (there’s always a noticeable lack of zombies), with one giant exception. Even though the show’s been going for over 20 seasons, I’ve never yet tired of CBS’ the Amazing Race; whether because of the fantastic exotic locales we follow the contestants to, or the crazy challenges they’re required to do once they get there, the Amazing Race has always remained fun for me.
Imagine, then, my excitement when I learned of one being held right here on campus! Put on by CAB (the Campus Activities Board), this year marked the 2nd Holy Cross Amazing Race, and I had the crazy idea of, “Hey, know what, let’s do it!” So I rang up my cousin Benjamin Nicholson, Class of ’17, in his room in Wheeler Dorm, he said “YES,” and the rest was history! As cousins, you see, we both possess the same insanity genes, so we jump at stuff like this. And, both of us being Marvel geeks fresh off a midnight premiere of Captain America, there was only one team name for us to choose – so Sunday afternoon, the Uncanny Pecs-Men were at the starting line, ready and rearin’ to go!!
We met with the other teams on the Hogan 2nd floor couches, and took off at a pre-arranged time from the starting line. I told Ben, who’s never seen an episode of the CBS show, that the key rule to winning this thing is to RUN. EVERYWHERE. When our first clue pointed us straight up the hill to the Hart Center pool, that rule didn’t sound so good anymore. Ben was a trooper though, and we picked them up and put them down!
From a decryption code involving the Hart Pool record board, down to a scavenger hunt among cars in the parking garage, we were led onto an empty Fitton Field. We got our best parkour skills on, and many fences and walls were scaled and/or vaulted to give us the straightest line to our destination.
From here, some more parkour skills may or may not have been utilized to get us to the Loyola Ballroom, where Ben showed off his truly impressive mini-golf putting skills. Ben’s brother Joshua played golf a few years ago, and I’d wager some things rubbed off from one to the other. At the next challenge in Campion House, I discovered firsthand how many shortbread cookies I’m able to fit in my mouth simultaneously. And then another discovery: shortbread cookies get really dry when you’ve got three of them packed into one cheek. After a generously-provided glass of water unclogged my alimentary canal, we ran up to Figge Dorm for some trash-talking (and sorting) before heading into Smith Hall for a video message from headmaster Fr. Boroughs.
An unscrambled message on the ROTC quad led us into Dinand Library, and here I have to stop and make an apology. To the perplexed librarian – to the poor students in the reading room trying to just get their work done on a sunny Sunday afternoon – Ben and I are so, so sorry. We really didn’t mean to come sprinting into the library, literally dripping sweat and gasping for air. People walking past as we hunted for the book that held our next clue must have thought to themselves, “Wow. Those two are really passionate about learning.”
Years of playing ladderball at Nicholson 4th of July gatherings got us through our next challenge with ease, before we were led to one final maddening challenge that matched up CAB leaders with their respective events. To watchers of the show, it was perhaps the single worst case of “the bad taxi driver” phenomenon that I’ve ever seen, not helped by the fact that Ben and I were the victims of it. It was a dead sprint from there to the finish in Williams, where volunteers, applause, and most importantly PIZZA awaited us!!
The two of us had an absolute blast over the course of the afternoon, and we’re already looking ahead and planning for next year! A big shoutout to CAB for organizing this event, and staffing it so excellently. The clues and challenges were both complicated and fun, and we pretty much never stopped laughing the entire afternoon. Ben, thanks for doing this with me bud – you thought you were gonna have a hard time keeping up with a marathon runner, but I assure you, you kicked some serious butt!
Just another one of the excellent events put on by Holy Cross and its organizations, and one that we’re already anticipating again in the future! Thanks also to all the other racers, I hope the rest of you had as much fun as we did. Amazing!!!