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Sea Olympics: A Unifying Experience

The build-up was monumental. For weeks, Semester at Sea readied the 750ish passengers for the Sea Olympics. Sea (or dorm hall) versus Sea. Mano-y-mano. May the best man win.

Marshall Hastings
Assistant Sports Editor




SCSS2The build-up was monumental. For weeks, Semester at Sea readied the 750ish passengers for the Sea Olympics. Sea (or dorm hall) versus Sea. Mano-y-mano. May the best man win.

It all began the day before we arrived in Barcelona, Spain. At our full-ship meeting before arrival, the students were introduced to the Sea Olympics. The events were exciting;the involvement would be complete. Everyone would have the chance to compete, and you better believe everyone wanted to. Whether it was dodge ball or basketball, trivia or riddles, students all knew their own talents, and on this day, students began shaping ideas of what their teams would look like.

The hype only increased on Neptune day, the day the ship crossed the equator. For all the pollywogs, or first time crossers of the equator via ship, this day marked the beginning of the Sea Olympics’ craze. As students from the same Sea’s shaved their heads in unison, were doused in ‘fish guts’ (let’s be honest, it was just green water), and subject to the kissing of the fish and King Neptune’s ring, a bond was being formed.

Slowly but surely, identities were being created. Each Sea’s leaders were showing themselves. Who had the heart to put ones image on the line was being shaped. The teams for each Sea had been divided, and the practice would soon begin if it already hadn’t.

After spending two weeks of buildup crossing the Atlantic Ocean, and another eight days spent in Brazil, the day mercilessly arrived. Between Brazil and Barbados, under the sweltering sun close to the equator, the games finally began.

Donning red and representing the Mediterranean Sea Red Dragons, I took whatever talents I could muster and hopped on as a concentration, dodge ball, and lip-synch member. Oh was I in for a surprise.

I’ve been to high school pep rallies and NCAA Division III Men’s basketball playoff games. I’ve been to Division III Men’s Hockey National Championship bouts and professional sporting events, but the Sea Olympics was a different monster. 750 students, who three months ago could hardly pick anyone out of a crowd, now banded together as one.

In two and a half weeks’ time, the ship will be docking in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and students will begin their treks home. Some will drive 30 minutes, and some will fly six to ten hours. But on this day, on this boat, none of that matters. In August, 750 students introduced themselves to their new roommates. Today, they battle for the crown.

It began with a school wide cheer contest as seas created cheers and rallied around the student union. Then the games began. Med Sea claimed an early victory in the water balloon toss, and putting together solid showings in a shipwide relay and orange toss.

By mid-afternoon, we were vying for a top three finish. Then, we erupted into the championship race with victories in memory and the ping pong tournament. A heartbreaking disqualification in a water pour put us in the heart of the pack again.

It came down to the lip sync contest, something the entire ship couldn’t wait for. With the lights turned down and the spotlight on, sea’s banged out dance routines to Beyonce, Pitbull, and Justin Timberlake. Teachers turned back the clock with a phenomenal routine to Michael Jackson before Med Sea brought the crowd to its feat with Backstreet Boys, TLC, and DMX.

Proudly, we pulled in a fourth place finish in the lip sync, propelling us to a second place finish overall. I have competed in high school football championships, college baseball games, intramural championship games (because, let’s be honest, those are the most competitive games of them all), but there was a different aura in the Sea Olympics.

With students you may never see again, you create an indescribable bond. You travel to foreign countries together creating once-in-a-lifetime memories. You see the world in a different lens with these people. You learn about yourself and just how far you can go. And after this event, you have just 19 days left with them.

So as the countdown to home mercilessly comes, you begin to cherish every moment. And with every individual piling their emotions into seemingly meaningless events, that bond only grows.

You may not see these people for two weeks, two months, or ever again, but on this day, you are family. You are one united group, traveling the world, making memories, and growing up. With these people you compete for an invisible trophy and glory. You compete for pride. With these people, you are Semester at Sea.

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