September 25, 2020
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Hungry Hungry Hippos game brought to life

By Thomas Infante
Correspondent

The Recreation Center was home to one of the most unconventional pastimes on the evening of Friday, Feb. 5. In a place where students would normally gather to play tennis or basketball stood three teams of students with scooter boards and buckets in their hands. They all faced the center of the court, where a multitude of colorful balls lay on the floor — but not for long. The name of the game was “Human Hungry Hippos.”

A real-life reimagining of the Hungry Hungry Hippos board game, the rules of “Human Hungry Hippos” are simple. Each team must have at least two members: one to lie on the scooter face-down and another to guide the scooter towards the middle of the court. The player on the scooter is responsible for trapping as many balls as possible with the bucket without using any hands. The other player must then guide his teammate back to their goal, where the balls are accumulated.

Students face off in a game of Human Hungry Hippos. (Heiner Fallas / Photo Assistant)
Students face off in a game of Human Hungry Hippos. (Heiner Fallas / Photo Assistant)

The event was truly a sight to behold. At first, some of the players seemed off-put by the sheer absurdity of the game. Once the scooters began to pick up speed, however, the only concern of the giggling players was how quickly they could win.

“It’s all about teamwork. You definitely need to have a lot of energy,” sophomore early childhood education and psychology double major Katie Burns said. As with all of the players present that day, this was Burns’s first time playing the game. “It’s fun and I hope we get to do it again next year.”

Although the game might seem silly to a bystander, it is naïve to assume that a game so whimsical would also be easy.

“It feels a little like you’re flying. It seems like you’re going much faster than you would think,” senior psychology major Andrew Edelblum said.

Edelblum, standing easily over six feet tall, said that he felt “a little cramped” on the scooter that most people haven’t utilized since elementary school.

“The lack of control and the awkward positioning just adds to the challenge,” he said. “I wish I could have played this in elementary school. It’s a great idea.”

All the players seemed to agree that both the most difficult and fun role on the team is to be the player tasked with riding the scooter.

“It’s really hard to steer,” said Emma Wiley, a freshman secondary education and Spanish dual major who wore a GoPro camera while sliding and spinning around the floor. “It’s a surprisingly intense workout. You have to keep your legs up so they don’t drag on the floor and slow you down.”

Wiley also emphasized the importance of teamwork as a key strategy for the game.

“It’s hard to tell where you’re going. You’re very reliant on your teammate,” Wiley said.

Overseeing the event was Lisette Stanzione, the late-night activities coordinator for the College.

The game is one of many late-night activities put on in the Recreation Center. (Heiner Fallas / Photo Assistant)
The game is one of many late-night activities put on in the Recreation Center. (Heiner Fallas / Photo Assistant)

“Hippos don’t have hands!” she yelled at a player frantically attempting to stuff balls into his bucket before the game ended. Stanzione and her team of assisting students kept time and helped players learn the rules of the game.

“We host activities like this four days a week,” Stanzione said. “Events range from life-sized board games like this to more traditional sports.”

Stanzione’s goal is for everyone participating to get involved and have fun doing so. Based on the laughter and smiles from the players present that night, it appears she is succeeding.

“We try to create events that everyone will enjoy and want to participate in,” Stanzione said. “We always welcome co-sponsorships from anyone who is interested.”

While attendance to past events has ranged from 10 to over 100 people, one thing is for sure —  no matter how many or how few people come to participate, everyone involved will find themselves inevitably smiling.

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