03 Oct, Tuesday
78° F

Final Salute To Summer

The term Splish-Splash was never more true than in last week’s epic water balloon fight where several hundred students came out to face one another in an all-out brawl of chaos and saturation.

Under the fading hue of Summer’s light, and settling heat cooled by the impending night, students from across campus joined in on the celebration to start out the new semester. At a quarter to eight, music could be heard resonating through the chirping of trees and insects, progressively rising in volume the closer to the field you came.

A small blue canopy acted as a barrier for those wanting to participate. There a yellow band could be acquired as one’s pass for the main event, a warning frequently repeated across the hour wait, as more and more students joined the line, or huddled on the field’s outskirts.

Volleyball catered to a majority of those who arrived early while others towards the end chatted amongst themselves. As advertised, a large section of the field was closed off by yellow warning tape. Inside were the letters CAMO spread across the grass and within each laid several thousand water balloons, all awaiting their final fate as the minutes ticked towards nine. With the line growing small, and the event approaching time, the participants were asked to huddle near a raised stage. The MC explained the rules to the excited crowd. No going early, no teams, every person for themselves.

Everyone proceeded towards the letters with the lines of warning tape being removed. The restless students began swaying side to side, eyes glued upon the balloons. The cue was simple, a downbeat from the song Swag Surfin’ by F.L.Y (Fast Life Yungstaz). The anticipation stoked a flame of excitement, rising and rising, even causing early starts from a student or two, only delaying the inevitable.

As the song revved back up, some students interlocked hands and shoulders with the sways growing and heartbeats racing, building upon each booming note until a wall of screams exuded from the crowd. Within seconds, the students raced towards the piles, and lit up the sky with streaks of water and latex, flashing through the on-high floodlights beaming upon the mayhem. No one was safe, any caught in the onslaught of balloons found themselves drenched from head to toe. Some raced around the perimeter, trying to escape, while most stayed near the piles to make sure the most destruction of cloth occurred. Even the campus officers were in on the fun, at least being thrown at them, one declined to get revenge.

In a period of about ten minutes, students were able to get their minds off the world and have one last bash to summer, before being consumed by classes and work. After the final balloons were thrown, the participants gathered in a straight line to help out with collecting the debris scattered across the field. The players began to slowly trickle out as the repetitive advertisements of upcoming events echoed through the trees as others went about their lives.

Welcome back to UIS.

Photo credits: Allen Schmitz | Awaiting the Cue

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