A newly formed sports team straddles the line between actual merit as a physical activity and pure hooliganism, receiving increased support from the student body and accumulating complaints from the neighborhoods surrounding the campus. The spring practices for next year’s extreme fencing team took students through various lawns surrounding the college to see how many picket fences could be placed within the limits of another person’s property before being forcibly removed from the property by the owner.
“I had just come back from break after having helped my parents set up a fence around the yard,” said captain Quincy Pickett K’18 “and it just made sense to continue my passion in college.” What began as a few students looking to prank some of the houses owned by the professors soon turned into a competition between participating members while gaining more members after people asked what they were doing walking around with pickets over their shoulder.
Rules had to be established if they were to become a legitimate team at the college, so one of the founding members, Maria Cordero K’19 established various guidelines, like how points would be attributed. “I couldn’t award too many points for time because you could tell if someone wasn’t home by seeing if their car was out front,” she said, “so we had to go based on how well the entrance was blocked off and how many pickets could be connected together within a certain time limit.” Of course, points are doubled for fence posts placed in the ground while an owner was attempting to move the competitor off the property, as well as style points for a paint job done to the fence.
Campus neighbors complained to the school, asking to shut down the team before the fall season begins. One infuriated resident, Virginia Haring, described her interaction with the team as “Utterly disrespectful. I pulled in front of my house to find a student completing a fourth row of fences blocking off my front door and driveway. When asked to leave he only began to work faster.”
The growing problem was addressed in an email to the entire school which only served to add to the number of students willing to join the team, so additional measures were taken by both local police and campus security. The increased patrolling of the local houses deterred the students for the span of a week while they formed a response. This came in the form of an orange and black painted fence surrounding the police station and the garage where the police cars are parked.
The school retracted funding from the program for the new sports team to show their unwillingness to fund such an activity. However, a grant was given by an anonymous Kalamazoo alum who read an article in the local paper and was inspired to donate in the hopes of “creating a world where students are not confined by the law and squares might be trapped by planks of wood.” The team will remain active throughout the fall and continue to raise questions about what can be considered a sport.
Buzzkill is The Index’s end-of-quarter satirical publication.