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Late Night Olympics kick off

Joe Trombello | Friday, January 23, 2004

Tonight’s Late Night Olympics is expected to draw approximately 1,200 Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s students into the Joyce Center and Rolfs Aquatic Center, according to RecSports officials, where students will have the opportunity to participate in more than 15 athletic events to raise money for Special Olympics. Bill Reagan, RecSports assistant director, said that last year’s event featured nearly 1,500 students and brought in $6,700 through a variety of fundraising events including entrance fees, donations and penny wars. This year’s event will also feature a raffle and will include one Master of Business Administration Team.”This is the single largest participatory event that our department puts on,” Reagan said. “Bengal Bouts is the largest event in terms of observers, but this is an opportunity to participate.”Students will participate in the events with at least one other opposite-sex dorm, forming teams that compete for half of the proceeds earned, which may be used by their respective dorms as seen fit. Dorms from Saint Mary’s will also participate, as will a team of graduate students on a one-year trial basis.”[This] had always been an undergraduate dorm-versus-dorm competition,” Reagan said. “We were petitioned by an MBA group …. [and decided] it [their participation] was for all the right reasons.”Reagan said that a challenging component to the event is the teamwork required among dorms in the athletic competitions, which range from dodge ball to kayaking. “It’s a good chance for Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s students to work together – that’s the most difficult part. They have to get together and communicate.”This is the 18th year the event has been held. Sally Derengoski, the current director of RecSports, conceived of the idea based her experience engaging in a similar event while enrolled as an undergraduate at Indiana University. “I came from IU and they had an event called the Spirit of Sport All-Nighter,” she said. “It was just fun to be playing sports – I loved sports – and to be out at all hours of the night running from event to event. I think I enjoyed the craziness of it.”Derengoski said that the event at Indiana raised money for Indiana’s Special Olympics charity, and her experiences with Special Olympics as well as Notre Dame’s history with the organization and its commitment to service made the group an appropriate charity.”This campus and its students really love to be a part of something that is good in the way of charity and volunteerism, so the event fits nicely into the culture of the campus,” she said. “I think the No. 1 attraction of Late Night Olympics is the sense of giving back.”Students said that they especially enjoy the charity aspect of the event, as well as the athletic activities in which they participate.”I like all the sports we get to play,” junior Brandon Wolf said. “It brings me back to my childhood. Late Night Olympics is like endless recess. The fact that all the money raised is going to such a good cause is the best part about [it],” he said.Kate Marcuccilli, Pasquerilla East representative for Late Night Olympics, said she believes many girls in her dorm are looking forward to the event.”I realized that Late Night Olympics is something that most individuals want to be a part of,” she said. “I feel that this is a unique opportunity for me as a freshman to get involved because it puts me in a leadership position that involves the whole campus and affects those beyond the Notre Dame community.”Students will be required to sign waivers before competing in each event, and any intoxicated students will be asked to leave by ushers and security staff, Reagan said.Students employed by RecSports will also be on hand to monitor and referee some events.