By Victoria Sananikone, Assistant Editor
Featured image and last picture by Victoria Sananikone
Bearcat image by Lazar Lestaric
An excerpt from the McKendree Swimming and Diving GroupMe:
Swimmer 1: Like if you want to have a snowball fight
*16 people like the message*
Swimmer 1: 9:30?
Swimmer 2: Wait tonight or in the morning?
Swimmer 3: We should do it in place of our workout tomorrow
Swimmer 4: We can have more than one bro
Swimmer 3: TRU
Swimmer 1: Okay football field at 9:30 tonight *insert snowflake and snowman emojis*
It took my roommate and me around ten minutes to don layer after layer of our winter apparel in order to guard ourselves against the severity of the cold. Frozen rain was currently falling from the sky, an endangered element for Lebanon, Illinois; one that had not been seen for so long it was foreign. The amount that was ceasing to descend was piling up inch after inch, so much that my foot disappeared under a white blanket when I stepped outside. We scurried from the Suites to Walton where we met some of our teammates, and doing so I almost slipped and got a face full of snow. But little did I know, there were many face fulls of snow that were about to greet me, for I did not step out of Walton onto the quad; I stepped out onto a battlefield.
*POOSH* A snowball was hurled my way and exploded on my shoulder, another one flying close behind which landed on my chest, flinging snow into my face. Oh, it was on. I ran out onto the quad, grabbing chunks of snow with both of my hands and forming a failed attempt at a snowball that I threw at the first person I saw. Retaliation followed soon after, and the constantly repeated phrase of “Not in the face!!!” lost all of its meaning. I found myself incredibly cold, yet somehow sweating like a dog at the same time. Adrenaline was pumping though all of our veins like a jackhammer, and if you let your guard down for a split second, you were certainly screwed. The ability to have eyes in the back of your head would have come in handy during this time, as you were painfully oblivious to when you were about to be body slammed into a heap of snow, an act of great fun that I experienced more than I could count that night. Having been born a small person is a blessing and a curse, a curse when others find it easy as a cake to pick you up and toss you into a pile of snow continuously despite your protests and threats to murder them.
The quad was littered with swimmers (and a lone Serbian hockey player) pelting snowballs at each other, burying each other in the snow, and dog piling one another. I spotted a large patch of snow that was undisturbed by the madness, and it was practically calling my name to prance over and perturb its soft layers with the making of a snow angel. This idea was not only one of pure delight, it was purely idiotic, for once I had finished my masterpiece, I was bombarded by fellow teammates who showered me with snowballs in an attempt to bury me alive. I definitely had snow in places that snow should never be. “Hey let’s get on the bearcat!” The bright idea was flung into the air, and the statue of Bogey, the Bearcat, had a stampede of swimmers coming his way. We assembled ourselves either on top or in front of the statue and posed for a quick picture taken by our favorite Serbian hockey player.
Next, we made our way to the fountain where the shenanigans continued. One of us attempted to perform all of the swim strokes in the snow, flailing around and flinging snow in every direction, prompting a plethora of laugher and videos to be taken. The night ended in a march to different dorm complexes, where, on the count of three, we each hurled a snowball (some a snowBOULDER) at the window of our teammates who decided to skip out on the fun filled night. We undoubtedly succeeded in pissing some people off;)))
Screams of terror, laughs of pure joy, and playful curses filled the night sky as the frenzy of students unleashed their inner child. I remember stepping back to capture this moment on camera and solidify it in my mind. I cannot remember the last time I had had this much fun at school, and I was overcome by a feeling of true happiness, and a love for my teammates who weren’t afraid to let their spirits run free. These are the moments to live for.