Why it can be a good thing to run around naked once a year

My third winter at The College of Idaho. I’ve returned with the rest of my classmates to our academic home. I’ve been fortunate in my life to have many uneventful Christmases and this year was one of them. I spent the majority of the break recuperating and cooking leisurely meals with friends at the Haus before returning home, and then after a short road-trip to Washington, I returned on New Years Eve.

It’s been an incredibly strange season for those of us familiar to Idaho’s climate. Our ski team is starving from lack of snow. Bogus Basin, the local resort north of Boise hasn’t opened at all this season, and there hasn’t been a single snow-fall that has stuck on our campus. I fear that the traditional “Finney Fun Run” may not go on as planned.

The run is an annual tradition held by on-campus students on the day when snow first stays and clumps on the ground at the college. Snowball-making material. Men of the student body assemble at the Voorhees dorm, strip to whatever level of clothing they feel secure with (which ranges between some to none) and then upon the stroke of midnight, sprint to the Finney dorm across the campus where they are pelted with snowballs by observers who lurk near the Tertling Library that lies in between both residences. After rapidly carousing through all three floors of the dorm, the men perform chilled calisthenics in the “Finney Forest” next to the dining hall and then are chased back to Voorhees by bold college women (also dressed in varying degrees of clothing). There, in the front lawns in front of Hayman and Voorhees, a massive snowball fight occurs between both parties with wounds later being healed with hot chocolate inside the common room in Voorhees.

It’s one of those traditions that you don’t really hear about until you get there, but for me amusingly has woven itself nicely into the tapestry that is my college experience. It’s amusing to know that this tradition has been around since the early days of the college, back when Voorhees was a male-only dorm and Finney was female-only in the early 1900s.

I ran last year alongside many members of the track team and my brothers. The run is definitely one of the more ridiculous things I’ve done in my life, but I’m glad I threw my feet into this annually renewed chapter of the school. It might sound strange from a distance, but it’s traditions like these that bind us together as Yotes. Whether you are one of the brave runners, or one of the spectators, it’s something we can all talk about in the dining hall the next day.

This year I’m going enjoy my right as a spectator. If the snow ever decides to show up that is.

PHOTO: Wrangling this bear I found in an Oregon gas station.

- Andrew Moore