Thursday, 3:32 a.m.
Happy Groundhog Day, everyone. This will be my fourth and final Groundhog weekend as an undergrad – unless I bombed comprehensive exams. Though I’ve never been the student who celebrates Groundhog as a sacred holiday (shame on me), I want to make this last one count by participating in as many of the weekend festivities as I can.
Follow me around for eighty-something hours during this unforgettable weekend.
Already the Rat is packed with undergraduates and a couple alumni for the Retro TGIT. Tom Buoni, opening for the main act, gets the crowd singing along; Todd Jacobson joined him for one of Kayne West’s songs, “Ninjas in Paris” (well, the title is something like that). Senior ladies scream out the lyrics, while a group of freshmen boldly join. I already know that I’m going to have that dumb yet catchy song stuck in my head for another week.
With high energy and high amounts of talent, cover band High Definition already pleases the crowd by playing songs students know and secretly love. This moment makes me feel oddly nostalgic. Each of these songs – the good ones and the lame ones – holds a memory. Already, the young night is doused in sentiment and Ziegenbock.
Senior Christine Hardey tells me in between songs, “I can’t imagine a better choice than High Definition for Groundhog TGIT.”
It’s true. They’re that good. And I’m most sure that they played at a previous TGIT. I ask Christine about this.
She responds, “I think they performed at the first TGIT our freshman year. I remember they played ‘Don’t Stop Believing,’ and that became my UD theme song.”
The nominees have been read aloud, and the seniors cheer for each candidate. Enthroned with oversized and glitterized crowns, the Groundhog King and Queen are announced: Kevin Burns and Elizabeth “Stevie” Stevens.
Senior Kayrn Taylor was not surprised that these two were chosen. “It’s interesting that two people who are very involved in school activities are the ones who won. I also think it’s very edifying for those students, such as juniors and sophomores, to look to Stevie and Kevin’s wins as a reward for that involvement. On top of that, they are both hilarious individuals. Kevin has a gift for saying the absurd, and Stevie is a very congenial person.”
Long live the king and queen.
Friday, 8:34 a.m.
It takes a tremendous deal to get me out of bed in the morning. However, the Champagne Breakfast did the trick. Senior Danielle Fuchs remarked, “The event ran very smoothly. The delicious eggs hit the spot at breakfast; not to mention, I cannot tell you how good a mimosa is before class! [The event] is an important tradition to bring together the seniors after the fun from TGIT the evening before.”
Saturday, 9:30 a.m.
I decided to step out of my comfort zone and participate in Student Foundation’s 5K run. Though I was born with a weak pair of lungs and a hatred for running, I opted to participate for the sake of tradition. And the t-shirts, designed by Molly Rawiki, were ridiculously cool.
I make my way to the tower. As the tower bells chime, the pack of runners take off like a swarm of bees. The flight moves together, and I am left standing by the tower in disbelief. Just when I thought nothing ever starts on time at the University of Dallas, there I stood corrected.
My walking buddy and I cross the finish line. Cool t-shirts, snacks and the Groundhog are waiting. We may or may not have skipped a lap or two. But we can proudly say that we participated in the Groundhog 5K.
One of my more athletic friends Sarah Willingham thought the 5K was the best start to the day’s events. “I was really impressed with the turnout. There must have been 50 participants. It got me pumped for the rest of Groundhog.”
I’m running late for the Powder Puff Game. From Carpenter Hall, I can hear the cheering, and I can catch sight of a sea of maroon hoodies and shirts.
Junior Danny Fitzpatrick leaves as I am arriving. He tells me the upperclassmen are getting crushed. The score is 0-0. I’m no athlete, but I am confused.
I’m surprised to see few upperclassmen in the stands, but underclassmen fill them up.
Throughout the rest of the game, I hear several times, “Do you know who number 12 is?”
“Dude, they’re all number 12.”
The underclassmen triumph and win the game, 8-0.
The seniors leave the field frustrated and a little sad. For the first time in four years, they have lost. Sadly, some traditions have reached an end. The common sentiment amongst the seniors was, “Oh, well. Let’s go have a drink!”
Already the lines for the park have begun to reach a considerable length. I make sure to get in line early with several other seniors.
Those who did not get in line as early had a more frustrating time. Sophomore Alex Lemke said, “Later in that night, there were long lines for the buses. It took some students over an hour to get on the buses. Some, those who were over 21, didn’t even make it on the buses.”
Steven Lester was one of those seniors who did not make it to his final Groundhog. When I asked him about it, he shrugged it off. “Had the line moved more quickly, I would have gone.”
Student band Buddha D’Souza and the Guys Upstairs got the night going from their first song, “White Room.” Though the crowd was few at first, it was having itself a good time.
The crowds sway back and forth and sing along to the songs (my favorite being “Acetaminophen”) of the Paul Spring Band. Many UD students shared the same sentiment: They were thrilled to have the band back.
I had left by the time The Orbans hit the stage. Apparently I didn’t miss much. Senior Lucy Ricci found them to be “blasé. I couldn’t tell when the background music was playing and when they were playing. They lacked the energy for an event like Groundhog.”
Though the music may have lacked liveliness by the end of the event, Groundhog 2012 was a success. Enough from me. Here’s what a few other students thought:
Senior Jessie Burke said, “I think the best part was being in the park again for the first time since freshman year. It was nostalgic for us seniors to be celebrating Groundhog for the last time the same way we celebrated it then. I was excited for the underclassmen to enjoy it in the park for the first time as it should be.”
Groundhog Queen “Stevie” Stephens agreed, “Finally getting back to Groundhog park was fantastic! There’s nothing like passing the night away with all your friends around a campfire with good music, food … and a little libation.
Cheers to you, Groundhog 2012.