Kris Cox (far right) shows the cow tongue to Sarah Officer (center) and her core group. The cow tongue toss was one of many events in the Corban Games during freshman orientation. Photo by Kate Schell.
Nothing like a cow tongue to calm freshmen qualms.
For the core groups who gathered on Warrior Field the second evening of freshmen orientation, the Corban Games offered bonding time, laughter and mild competition — including goldfish-catching, a three-legged race and, yes, an actual cow tongue.
Sporting red bandanas, admission counselor Sarah Officer’s core group — hailing from Arizona, Wyoming, Colorado, and the Salem area — quickly finished its first event, a scuba-gear relay, then quietly mingled to pass the time.
“It was awkward at first,” Lily Carlson said later, “But after the second game, we were more comfortable with each other.”
Initial inhibition forgotten, the students’ polite talk turned into shouts and jokes.
“Hey Sarah, we’re naming the group,” said Cori Lydice, laughing with her new friends. “We’re the Pirates.”
After catching some goldfish with a Dixie cup, Officer’s swashbuckling group proceeded to what many students considered the highlight of the games: the cow tongue, which teammates tossed back and forth, taking a step backwards after each toss.
“I had chunks on my hands, and it splattered all over,” said Carlson. “It was disgusting. It would have been more rewarding if we had won, but it was still fun.”
“One kid said his hands felt surprisingly soft” after holding the cow tongue, said ASB treasurer Paul Martin, who helped at the games.
After using hand sanitizer, the Pirates moved on to a round of Guesstures, followed by a three-legged race. Both events were spontaneously interrupted by human pyramid-building challenges.
Coby Bidwell, from another group, proved to be the origami folding wonder boy, dominating the competition by folding an impressive 30+ paper boats in the time allotted.
Officer’s group moved onto the final event, ultimate Frisbee, walking toward the field not just as core group members, but also as teammates.
“It] helped us connect. We felt more like a team [after the games],” said Brooke Jaskilka.
The students spread out across the field, ready to run.
“1, 2, 3 — Ultimate!” Ben Pearson and Rick Saffeels, the event leaders, shouted huskily.
In the darkening twilight, the Frisbee passed quickly from one student to another. Perched in the parking lot above Warrior Field, a handful of parents lingered, watching their children race toward the future.