Normal Olympics don’t feature cross-dressing figure skaters. Or “Dr. Seuss” characters playing beach volleyball. But these were not normal Olympics; they were the 2009 Crusader Olympics, the theme of the 105th annual Stunt Night, held at W.W. Walton Chapel March 27.
Each student class selected three Olympic sports and was asked to perform a skit based on their choices, straining to outdo each other in humor, creativity and style.
They competed for a slate of awards given by the audience and a panel of judges that included future UMHB first lady, Julie O’Rear, current first lady, Vicky Bawcom, and former first ladies, Marietta Parker and Ellen Tanner.
The freshman class chose tae kwon do, basketball and artistic skating as their sports.
They blended glow-in-the-dark karate fights, male “artistic skaters” in sequin dresses and lively dances to come out on top with the Judges Choice, Best Dance and Best Actor award for freshman exercise sport science major Seth Dickinson.
Freshman performance and film studies major, Rachel Jeske, freshmen class co-director, is thrilled at what they accomplished.
“We put in so much hard work and dedication,” she said. “There was some stress at first, but it turned out to be amazing. It’s just incredible, and I am so proud of all the freshmen.”
The sophomores added a “Dr. Seuss” theme to their skit by rhyming through beach volleyball, trampoline gymnastics and curling.
Their whimsical apparel, based on characters from Dr. Seuss’s books, earned the award for Best Costume, but that was not important for sophomore education major, Julia McDonald.
“When our class gets together, we have a good time,” she said. “We don’t care about awards. It’s about us dancing, looking stupid and having a good time.”
The juniors performed the most popular skit of the evening, combining thick foreign accents with enthusiastic acting to win the Campus Choice award. Their sports included fencing, water polo and synchronized swimming.
“It’s so great because now I know the audience liked it,” said junior elementary education major, Katie Leibert. “I had so much fun.”
In their final performance for Stunt Night, the senior class chose the events of running, wrestling and floor gymnastics.
Their story about a team of underdogs competing in the Olympics earned the Best Actress award for senior nursing and performance studies major Layne Grisham.
Participating in the skit’s antics was senior computer science and computer graphics design major Blake Smedley, who portrayed an Olympic weight-lifter.
“My favorite part was probably wearing really tight shorts on stage, ripping off my T-shirts and just hanging out with the other seniors,” he said.
Stunt Night Co-director, Emily Williams, believes the evening was successful.
“I thought it was really great,” she said. “Everyone worked hard and put on a fantastic show.”
Stunt Night has a long history at UMHB. In 1904 George Rosborough, a physical education instructor, began the skits to occupy students who had nowhere to go during the Christmas holidays.
Junior nursing major, Jessica Gallagher, who was in the audience, enjoyed seeing her peers perform.
“I liked watching everyone participating, and they all seemed like they really enjoyed it,” she said. “It was really fun to watch, and I’m just proud of all of them.”