Fall Picnic unites student body through Powderpuff competition


Brooklyn, NEW YORK--Beautiful weather greeted King’s students Oct. 5 as they rested from the woes of midterms and trekked to Brooklyn for the College’s annual Fall Picnic. Most of the student body flooded the open grass fields of Prospect Park to enjoy activities orchestrated by the King’s College Events Committee. Headlining this year’s picnic was King’s first Powderpuff Flag Football Tournament between five of the women’s Houses, with the House of Susan B. Anthony emerging as the winner.

The House of Queen Elizabeth I was away for its retreat, so brackets for the games had to be slightly altered. Yet each women’s house played at least one game.

While the girls took the field, members from each of the men’s houses served as coaches, teaching football game plans and strategy on the fly to compensate for a lack of formal practices.

“We strategized a lot. We showed up at 12 before the picnic to teach the girls how to grab flags and institute our wildcat offense,” Jonathan Lile, president of the House of Ronald Reagan, said of the House of SBA. “The girls didn’t have a ton of prior knowledge [about football], but they picked it up very quickly.”

SBA president, Kelli O'Donnell, added, “We practiced for about 45 minutes before the picnic, and other than a few drills between games we didn’t really practice. It was Jonny Lile’s organized leadership that made our practice short but efficient."

The Houses of S.B.A. and Thatcher battle in the second game of the day. Photo by Kristen Lee.

Emily Collins of the House of Barton echoed similar sentiments for her house: “We practiced for about half an hour before the game, so really, playing the games were our practice.”

As the lowest point scoring houses, the House of Corrie ten Boom (coached by the House of Dietrich Bonhoeffer) and the House of Clara Barton (coached by the House of Winston Churchill) played each other in the first game of the day. The House of Barton won, and advanced to play the House of Sojourner Truth (also coached by Bonhoeffer).

Following the ten Boom/Barton game, the House of Margaret Thatcher (coached by the House of C.S. Lewis) took the field against the House of Susan B. Anthony. After an intense game, the House of SBA beat the House of Thatcher to advance to the championship game.

The other contender was to be determined by the winner of the Barton-Truth game, in which the House of Barton won, advancing to the championship game.

The championship game between the Houses of SBA and Barton delivered excitement and adrenaline that the players and spectators had been anticipating all afternoon. With a steady outflow of touchdowns and interceptions, the House of SBA was able to keep Barton’s scoring to a minimum and rose as the champion of the Powderpuff Tournament, much to the excitement and satisfaction of their fellow House members, coaches and supporting Houses.

“SBA performed incredibly well. To be honest, I was blown away at how well they executed plays,” Lile said of SBA’s collective performance.

Sean Spurlock of Churchill expresses frustration during Barton's game. Photo by Kristen Lee.

Despite Barton’s defeat, Collins still beamed with pride for her house: “I’m really proud of the way Barton played. It was clean. It was fun. We were all dying from soreness and discovering multiple bruises the next day, but it was so worth it.”

After being cancelled due to last’s year’s Hurricane Sandy (a TKC fall memory in itself), Fall Picnic’s triumphant return left students on a spirit-fueled adrenaline high before heading back to the grind of urban academia. For many students, Fall Picnic and the Powderpuff Football Tournament allowed them to feel like typical college students, if only for an afternoon. The calm of nature, supplemented by free snacks and great community with friends allowed students to relax and enjoy the afternoon.

“The entire event made me feel like a real college student. I’m so grateful to the events committee for making this a genuinely fun senior year for me and my entire graduating house,” Emily Collins said.

O’Donnell echoed Collins’s sentiments when she summed up the feelings of many of her Housemates: “It made us feel like ‘real’ college students. So often students at King’s take themselves too seriously,” she added, “We are in an environment that forces us to be mature (sometimes to a fault). The picnic was a perfect reminder to be spontaneous and carefree.”