We here at the Nass have more experience with our own balls than the kind you play sports with (sometimes the fine line between intellectual masturbation and actual masturbation sort of disappears). That doesn’t mean we’re not willing to give things like “dodgeball” a try. At last year’s Princeton Dodgeball Tournament, we came in hopped up on athletic platitudes and visions of sports glory – and managed to lose 5 minutes into our first-round game, before half our team had even showed up.

But while we won’t have any more luck this year, at least we’re going to have more fun. That’s because this year, the dodgeball tournament is on Newman’s Day. That’s right – the entire school is going to be playing dodgeball during the most intoxicated hours of its most infamous mass drinking game. In fact, if you’re reading this on Thursday night (or even Friday morning), there’s a chance that you’re too drunk right now to read what this sentence says.

And this timing could hardly be called coincidence. The University makes no bones about the purpose of its Alcohol Initiative events, and makes even fewer bones about the acceptability of drinking games. They’d rather have us painting porcelain coffee cups than painting the town red; rather have us drinking lemonade at Quad for Lawnparties than Mimosas at Cloister; rather have us attending whatever that “Asian Night Market” was than getting our pre-frosh sloshed. But as it turns out, in defiance of all the conspiracy theories involving the administration and Shirley Tilghman’s “War on Fun,” the rumors are…not true.

“It [the date of the tournament] was arbitrarily picked by a random University administrator without going through any sort of thought process,” says Colosseum President Steve Slovenski.

Say what? The University isn’t throwing the dodgeball tournament in a weak attempt to keep us from killing ourselves with beer? Has no one ever pointed out the unlikely correlation between the number of hours in a day and the number of beers in a case to the clueless bureaucrat?

Well, that’s disappointing.

But despite the fact that this wasn’t planned, no one’s going to argue that the University isn’t pleased. Shirley Tilghman isn’t going to complain if the opportunity for sports glory will convince some people not to pay tribute to the gods of Milwaukee. The people who shouldn’t be pleased, though, are the people who look forward to the dodgeball tournament and Alcohol Initiative events in general. After all, no one can drink at the tournament, but drunks have never been denied entry to the tournament in the past. And if it’s not fun for the teetotalers to deal with a drunken fratty lout in Cottage, it’s got to be even less fun when an entire team of his ilk is flinging things at you in Dillon. Doesn’t the combination of large crowds, flying objects, intense emotions, and alcohol illicit some kind of worry?

Not really, the Colosseum Club says. Steve noted that people had shown up drunk to previous tournaments without causing problems. Steve also pointed out that the actual percentage of Princeton students who participate in Newman’s Day is rather low (in a Point poll from 2006, only 7% of respondents said that they participated that year). In addition, the rewards for staying sober enough to play dodgeball well are rather large. First place team gets $1000 and a seven-foot trophy specially welded from three tiers of Tae Kwon Do trophies. Even little teams have something to work for, with the first-place winner of the costume competition pocketing a sweet $500. As a sign of exactly how little worry Newman’s Day is causing, the club has made arrangements for only one extra public safety officer. Hopefully, it’ll be enough.

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