Today is the big day. Hit the Bricks is here and it is awesome! If you check out the Quad Cam, the best place you can see students running is as they cross the front of Wait Chapel. You can catch a glimpse on the far left near the arch.
There is also a ton of activity in the Quad grass. There are tents set up, lawn chairs, sofas, banners. Students throwing footballs to each other, or frisbees. And along the sides of the walkway, student organizations have set up tables and stations, sometimes as the ‘trade off’ place for the key card that is being used this year to track laps. Other times they are selling food. Everywhere you look, there is something cool to see, or eat.
A nice thing is that there are a lot of positive vibes from the student tables as you walk or run by them. Some one made a sign saying something like “GREAT JOB! KEEP GOING!” and it was a sight for sore eyes as I was struggling my way around.
Some of your kids, let me tell you, are remarkably fast. Ridiculous even. They are in the best shape of their lives, and it shows. I had no idea when I was their age that I was in the best shape I might ever be in. I hope your kids realize it! To be able to run that many laps with a backpack full of sand and still look refreshed is a miracle.
All through the day, music is played on loudspeakers. Upbeat, popular stuff. Pharrell’s “Happy.” They are playing some older stuff too – everything from Beyonce to the Beastie Boys to the Beatles. “Baby you can drive my car…” Some of the students on the sidelines are singing along to some of the songs, and for a while there was a girl dancing in a tutu on top of the wall mid-Quad.
Occasionally the music is interrupted when they make an announcement. Certain points in the day you can get extra laps for doing something special: going a lap without your feet touching the ground (we saw scooters and bikes), and there was a wacky costume lap too. Supposedly at 4 there will be a Danny Manning lap (not sure what will happen there). I happened to witness four ROTC cadets run a lap while carrying a fifth cadet on a stretcher. That was Impressive.
It is super fun to see what all the students are doing, as well as the staff and faculty teams. Some groups are wearing matching shirts, or have some identifying logo or color. The truly competitive teams have a lot of strategies they use to win. The one that looks to be the most effective is to have each team member sprint a lap, then pass the key card to the next guy or girl, and then you recover until the other nine team members have run and it’s your turn again. Some of the more recreational teams divide it up in time slots. I ran some (but mostly walked) for my adopted department of the Z Smith Reynolds Library in a 50 minute shift. Every team’s gathering point has a person or two there to cheer you on as you go by – clapping, yelling encouragement, etc.
It is a day of terrific camaraderie and no small amount of sweat. But it is one of those events where you know you are contributing to the Greater Good, and it is a gorgeous sunny day and it makes you feel glad to be alive.
I’d be lying if I told you I wasn’t tired. I am exhausted. My shift was in the midday heat and it took a lot out of my Class of 1992 body. So I am recovering at the tables outside of Subway, drinking some Gatorade at a shady table. Here’s a couple of pics from my vantage point.
Great job to all our organizers, all the students, faculty, and staff who ran/walked. And here’s to all the people we know and love who are fighting cancer. May we find a cure and heal you all.