The 46 Hours I Lived
I think one of my favorite parts about THON is that when the weekend passes, and we all wake to a well-risen sun, whether we are alone, with a friend or a few, we are all thinking about the hours that just passed. Far too often, life is heavied by the constant pressure to always get more, veiling the world about us. THON weekend elevates life absolute. For those 46 hours, we feel everything. All at once, as each moment weds the next, we are laughing and we are crying. We are frustrated and we are smiling. We are wallowing in the bitterness of exhaustion and we are dancing like no one is watching. THON does not just unite us through our presence in the BJC, and there is nothing more transcending than soundness of mind.
Like last year, my weekend duties were split between my job as a Rules & Regulations Committee Member and as a writer for Onward State. But this year saw an increase in my responsibilities. As a second year member of R&R, it was my job to pass down all that I had learned from the past, as it was done to me, and to help make sure that my fellow Mr. Potaylor Head’s had the most amazing THON weekend possible (which, I am sure they can all tell you, is undeniable). As this year’s THON editor, my stories had almost entirely been dedicated to THON coverage, and so it was my job was to make sure that coming into THON Weekend, we were entirely prepared. Luckily, through the efforts of my exceptionally talented fellow OSer’s, my absence throughout my R&R shifts was well covered.
Through my 51 straight hours at the Bryce Jordan Center (minus a 20-minute trip home for a quick shower and meal) I experienced more than I can remember. I got to high-five all the dancers as they made their entrance to the floor; was told to drop my gun and put my hands in the air by a Four Diamonds Child during one of my many epic water gun fights, which usually left me soaked; met the inspirational John Carrano; mostly learned the Line Dance (my lack of abilities prevented me from accomplishing this last year); was lucky enough to spend the Final Four Hours on the floor; and didn’t stop singing and dancing until I was in my bed.
There were many times of struggle, when my lack of sleep and worn legs and back were at their worst. But in each moment of strife, there was always an outlet to lift me up. To my friends at the Onward State press table, my committee members, dancers Steph and Cassy from my home town, dancers Tecce, Ally and Caity (alumnus) from Onward State, the members of the Overall Committee, my bros from SigEp, the various THON captains and committee members, and all my other friends that I saw, it was all of you – our hugs, handshakes and conversations – who kept me going. THON, in itself, is a family, and within it there are so many more.
After the tears and embraces of the Family Hour, Go Go Gadjet’s supreme performance (I can’t imagine how awesome it must be to perform for a packed BJC, but they always own that stage), and two last Line Dances, it was time for the total reveal. As I saw 10.68 million dollars raised, I was at a loss for words. While I dislike actualizing efforts through monetary achievement, $10.68 million is more than just a number. 10.68 is the comfort for parents who fear they cannot afford the treatment their child needs. 10.68 is a frustrated doctor’s ability to further research cures and better treatment for their patients. 10.68 is an innocent child’s chance at life.
If there is anything that I have learned this year it is that some things are beyond your control. An event will transpire without your knowing, and people, without ever fully understanding the truth of it, will implicate and form their own opinions of you. The night before THON, I ate an abandoned fortune cookie from earlier that day. It read, “Compassion will cure more than condemnation.” THON is not a response to the media. THON is our ever-blossoming belief in sharing the life of which we all have been blessed, with those who need it most. And I think I speak for everyone when I say that each person leaves THON weekend a better person.