Yesterday was Hit the Bricks, and what a glorious day it was. The morning kicked off at 11 with some speakers from the football team (since the event is in memory of our famous and too-soon-departed alumnus football player, Brian Piccolo). We heard from Stan Cotten, the Voice of the Demon Deacons at sporting events. We heard from the director of the Cancer Center at WFU Medical School. We also heard that since this event was started in 2003, Wake Foresters have run 100,000 laps for Brian Piccolo. This is a record year for team participation – 90+ teams. It was a fantastic day for the event – sunny and low 70s, breezy, gorgeous in every way.
The mechanics of Hit the Bricks are that you can have a team of 10 people, and one of your teammates carries a baton around the Quad. The baton has a barcode on it, and the code gets scanned once each lap, or twice if you are wearing a backpack full of sand. If you work harder via the sand backpack, you get the extra credit. Each team member pays $15, which goes to cancer research.
There’s a lot of friendly rivalry, particularly among the fraternity and sorority entrants. There is one faculty-staff team who was charmingly (but perhaps maniacally) hardcore about it. They ran in shifts, and had each member who was running with the backpack. They were very fast runners and began with a commanding lead and it pretty much held throughout the day. This team – along with any others who were earnestly trying to win, they had “swap out” runners stand at the scanning station, so they could quickly get their backpack and baton to the next guy or girl and barely break stride. It was impressive to witness.
Also impressive was the way student organizations who are sponsoring teams set up tents on the Quad. Some pulled out sofas and chairs, other had drink stands, cheering sections, and signs. There was music all day – a combination of DJ and live bands – and about once an hour they updated the giant white boards with all the scores of the individual teams re: how many laps they’d run thus far.
Hit the Bricks was also a nice example of students, faculty and staff working together. There was a student group who helped plan the event (with help from some administrators). During the walk, students saw some of their professors, deans, and faculty walking. There was lots of conversation, lots of camaraderie, especially during the ‘cool down’ moments after folks stopped running.
The camaraderie and excitement was palpable. As I did my laps (totaling 7 miles, according to my pedometer!) I saw some parents with students who were clearly visiting campus for the official tour and interview, and I thought “if every single visiting student today doesn’t apply, I’d be amazed.” You are not going to find another happier day – unless of course, it’s Project Pumpkin!
We had a few moments of levity too. At some point I saw a male student running in a Halloween costume that was a bottle of tequila. Some students wore funny hats – top hats, Santa hats. We had a couple of the ‘green men’ type bodysuits that covered up their full bodies (heads too); these were in black and gold.
At the end of the event, there was a lap in memory of those who are battling/have battled cancer. Some people purchased luminaries in their memory. Then there were remarks in front of the chapel. And at the end of the day, everyone was excited, tired, happy, and a little reflective.
I am proud to say that at some point during the day, our Parent Programs team was ranked as high as 3rd in the faculty-staff category. Woo hoo!