The tale of bravery, heroics and spandex that is about to unfold is the next instalment in the epic story of team Deli-Sandwich. For those of you unfamiliar with Team Deli- Sandwich, the myth-like account of its creation may be found here on this very website. Essentially, it tells of a group of intrepid young exchange students callously denied the glory they so rightfully deserved by that cruel and flighty mistress called fate. However, it was with heads held high and rejuvenated spirits that Team Deli- Sandwich rallied their forces to make an assault on perhaps the most perilous competition ever devised by the masterminds of the UBC REC committee…Gladiators.
Those of you who are as blessed as I am to have a decent recollection of the early to mid 1990’s may remember the award winning (actually probably not) television show that went by the name of Gladiators. The Australian version was hosted by none other than our very own Mike Whitney (of Who-Dares-Wins acclaim) and presented a weekly spectacle of both human endurance and tight, shiny pants. When I first heard my host uni ran an event based on this god like piece of television history all my childhood fantasies of knocking a hapless opponent from a towering podium with nothing but my wits and a foam-covered stick at my disposal came rushing back to me. In my head I could already hear the thumping sounds of “another one bites the dust…” ringing out as I struck the final blow, and I knew that it was the blessed sound of victory.
After the debacle that was The Day of the Longboat the members of Team Deli-Sandwich quickly recognised Gladiator as their chance for redemption. The in true sports movie style we headed off to gladiator with a brand new uniform to match our brand new attitude. We even decided to follow the radical path of a name change from “Team Deli-Sandwich” to “Team Capsize”. This was no doubt partly to cast of the psychological shackles of defeat from our past competitions, but it also had a lot to do with our desire to have an excuse to put the cheeky pseudo-sexual slogan “Wetter is Better” on our team shirts.
We looked tough, and perhaps more importantly: we looked good. But despite the revamp, we were barely half way through our first event (the giant inflatable obstacle course pictured below) when disaster struck. One of our gun members went into the obstacle course at the same time as the opposition but failed to come out first. We waited. Seconds ticked by. Another one of the other teams member came out, and another, and we started to get the feeling something had gone terribly terribly wrong. Finally our worst fears were confirmed when a UBC REC official emerged to halt the event, declaring our team-mate had been injured. In true team capsize style, she’d managed to seriously pull a ligament in her ankle on a piece of equipment that basically amounted to an oversize jumping castle. This tragic incident was to cost us not just one but two of our team members, as our injured comrade need an escort to piggyback her to the campus hospital.
The Inflatable obstacle course of death.
Event number two was Gladiator Dodgeball, and as we strapped on our protective gear, our ranks decimated, it was easy to tell we were shaken by the events of round one. Much like in the TV series Gladiator Dodgeball involved dodging balls launched by the opposing team while trying to collect objects with different points values from the field of play. In an added twist the ball throwing team was provided with a tennis ball-serving machine, that fired balls across the court at an alarming pace. It was a closely fought contest, but when it came down to the points count we went down by a narrow margin. The bitterness of defeat was somewhat lessened by the fact that one of our team members had pulled of the shot of the competition with the tennis ball launcher, smacking one of the opposing team members right between the eyes as he dove for a target.
Despite our numbers disadvantage we managed to put in a solid effort in both the stick fighting and the horizontal bungee, but it was the final and most daunting challenge that we would really stamp our mark on: The Gladiator Maze.
As we approached the entrance to the maze a collective sense of dread ran through the team. It looked daunting. Completely sealed off tunnels not high enough to stand in, filled with plumes of haze from smoke machines made more disorientating by flashing lights. None the less we took our positions and our first team member dove through the entrance without hesitation in search of the puzzle pieces hidden through out. One by one at a lightning pace the team capsize players navigated the maze and returned with their pieces, putting together our puzzle into a picture of American gladiators in five minutes and fourteen seconds, some eight minutes ahead of the team before us.
Finally, Team Capsize was able to enjoy the victory it was destined for and the disappointments of The Day of the Longboat could at long last be forgotten. Gladiator was the last event of the Semester for UBC REC, and thus the last event ever for the fabled Team Capsize, as it’s 10 members return to their homelands, forever tied together by a tipped over boat, some cheeky T-shirts and the memories.