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R&R: Keeping Composure During THON

This weekend I participated in THON through the Rules & Regulations Committee. I transferred to Penn State as a freshman last spring from the University of Maryland, so I missed the opportunity to join a committee. THON 2011 was an experience I will never forget.

As a Rules & Regulations member, I snaked throughout the workings of the BJC and interacted with all the different attendants of THON.

Dancers, Moralers, Four Diamonds kids, press, auxillary police, parents, the people wearing pinnies. I even personally escorted the big man, Mr. Millard to an elevator. The majority of the people I interacted with gave me something like a congenial head nod or a swift repartee. However, there were a few times when I received some unrefined responses for upholding the duties I was designated by my R&R superiors.

I had reached my fourth shift, and I was still running strong despite the lack of any sleep. This was to be my shortest shift of the weekend, only lasting 3 hours, but it turned out to be the most strenuous. My team was stationed in a section of the concourse that included the pit. At the time, the pit had slightly exceeded its capacity, and a decent amount of traffic had accumulated on the stairs, which greatly displeased the higher ups of the BJC. I was placed in charge of clearing out the one aisle and warranting access to the pit only when others exited it (person for person).

To say the least, I disappointed a great number of people. I hate having to say that, and disliked doing it even more. Most of the people sighed, consented to my blockade, and shuffled back up the stairs. Others felt the desire to express their disdain for me. One student told me I was an “asshole,” another told me to “fuck off,” and a mom buried her nose in texting and ignored me, and told me to hush while blocking up half of the aisle. You know, having been on my feet for almost all of the 28 hours I had been awake so far, all of the angered bargaining, deep huffs, raised voices and negativity took a toll on the spirit that was now piloting my will to fulfill my duties.

I bore through a number of disrespectful encounters, including telling people they had to continue trekking through the cold when the only door open during the wee hours was at Gate B. I do not believe I, nor any member of a committee, warranted such treatment. I cannot pretend that no one received snotty treatment from committee members, but try to remember that we were sleep deprived, our legs numb.

It was never my intent to keep a mom from hugging her dancer daughter when she needed one most, or to stop a father from telling his son how proud of him he is for pushing through the 46. I was only relaying the information and determined actions of my captains and the overalls. I did what I was told For The Kids.

So next year, if a Rules & Regulations member tells you that you cannot enter the pit at the moment, please understand there is a greater reason behind the rules. We raised over $9.56 million to fight pediatric cancer. Imagine if we treated everyone how we treat the kids…

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About the Author

Ryan Kristobak

Hailing from Lebanon, PA, I am a senior majoring in print journalism. Things I enjoy include lovesacs, denim, mullets, Fight Milk, Jonny Moseley, and "hang in there" kitten posters. Things that bother me include "fun" sized candy bars (not fun), fish, shoobies, wet door knobs, baby leashes, and Jake Lloyd.

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