Color Wars Gets Dancers’ Heads in the Game and Off Fatigue

The physical tolls of THON can be challenging–Penn State’s Dance Marathon wouldn’t be so special if it weren’t for the rigor of staying awake and on your feet for 46 hours.

But while foot massages and piggyback rides can help alleviate some of the physical stresses, it’s sometimes even tougher to stave off the mental monotony of nearly 2 days on the Bryce Jordan Center floor.

That’s where Color Wars come in.

Over the course of THON weekend–and during the preceding two weeks–there were over two dozen events that helped to create a momentary diversion. Dancers and their moralers were split into four teams–Blue, Orange, Green, and Red, and each event pitted the groups against one another.

“Color Wars is a time for dancers and moralers to earn points for their team,” moraler Ryan Glass explained. “But more importantly, to keep their minds off dancing.”

Those distractions included games like Cash Cab and Sporcle, dancers wrapping their moralers in toilet paper to form a human mummy, and a “Human Spelling Bee.” And the Color Wars grand finale featured a full hour of Pixar themed games–like a Monsters, Inc. door hop.

So what goes into crafting a good Color Wars event?

“It has to be something FTK, but also engaging,” morale captain and Color Wars coordinator Natalie Mueller explained. “Our job is to make the dancers happy.”

And events are specifically timed to match up with the dancers’ attitudes throughout the weekend–to match the energy on the dance floor.

“At the beginning, they’re a little more stimulating,” Mueller explained. “And you want to avoid that later on.”

For dancer Andrew Askew, the important part wasn’t whether his team (Orange) would win–so the sting of finishing third behind Green and Red was certainly lessened.

“It’s not important to win,” Askew said, “It’s just something to keep your mind off things.”

So even though Askew enjoyed the “friendly competition,” he said it was more important to preoccupy dancers from the “monumental task of dancing for 46 hours.”

Perhaps Natalie Mueller put it best:

“Some dancers take Color Wars more seriously than others, but really, everyone who partakes is a winner.”

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About the Author

Devon Edwards

Devon is a 2012 Penn State graduate and current law student at NYU. Devon joined Onward State in January of 2011, after a lengthy stay in the comment section. His likes include sabermetrics, squirrels, and longs walks on the beach, and his dislikes include spelunking, when you put your clothes in the dryer and they come out still kinda damp but also warm, and the religious right.

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