64 Bathroom Breaks & 1,000 Push-Ups: One Spectator’s THON 2022 Journey
While nearly 700 dancers were on the floor at the Bryce Jordan Center throughout THON 2022, one student took on the 46-hour marathon from the stands in his own unique way.
Former Onward State editor Otis Lyons‘s THON 2022 journey was one not quite like others. He decided to step out of his comfort zone and take on the no-sitting and no-sleep challenge from the stands.
Throughout the weekend, Lyons estimates he walked roughly 17.7 miles, totaled 45,454 steps, and clocked an average walking speed between 1.1 and 4.6 miles per hour. He also says he took 64 trips to the bathroom and totaled about 1,000 push-ups to keep morale high.
When making the decision to dance from the stands in THON 2022, Lyons drew some inspiration from THON 2020 sensation Anthony Fiset, better known as Onward State’s anTHONy. Before the event, he even got some advice from the man himself.
“I’ve been trying to do things outside of my comfort zone,” Lyons said. “It seemed like a really cool thing. I got a lot of inspiration from Anthony Fiset for what he did two years ago. I was like, ‘This would be a really cool thing to try.'”
Additionally, Lyons’ prior participation in THON stemmed from his work with Onward State. Now, without an org, committee, or any other affiliation to THON, he wanted to find a way to get involved. Luckily, he became an honorary member of the Snowboard Club that weekend and spent most of his time with its members. His roommate in the club introduced him to the rest of the members, and even when his roommate wasn’t there, the club welcomed Lyons.
Lyons credits the Snowboard Club for helping him complete his journey. Heck, the group even gave him one of its t-shirts.
There were some low points during the 46 hours for Lyons where he had some doubts. At 4 a.m. on Saturday, he had a “holy shit” moment when he started to count how many hours he had left, which is, of course, a terrible idea.
“There were a few times where I was like, ‘Wow, there’s probably a reason the dancers prepare for this all year,'” he said.
Despite his body telling him it was time for bed, he was able to persevere through it and keep chugging along to the point where it started getting better. By 6 a.m. on Sunday, it had felt like he just woke up, he felt “great”, and he was ready to roll.
“There were so many ebbs and flows,” Lyons said. “By the time I had like three ebbs, I was like ‘OK, it’s going to get better each time, and then it’s going to get worse, and I’m just going to have to ride it out. It actually got progressively better over the weekend.”
To help stay busy during the weekend, Lyons decided to do push-ups — a lot of push-ups. All in all, he did 1,000 push-ups, some of which came with none other than Onward State staffers Connor Krause and Samuel Brungo.
“Basically, I was like, ‘If I do 20 push-ups an hour and then just add in 80 more, that’s 1,000’…Then I realized I probably wasn’t going to do any during the Final Four, and it sounded like a perfect thing to do during the graveyard [shift] when nothing else is going on,” Lyons said.
He strategically did push-ups that engaged his upper body more than his lower half, which allowed him to give his legs a bit of a rest. However, it was a challenge remembering to keep his legs from touching the ground, though, he succeeded.
One part of Lyons’ experience that differs from many was the presence of his mom, Chris. She was there with him during Pep Rally, as well as the final six hours, which provided Lyons with some much-needed support.
“It was awesome,” he said. “It was cool to end it, you know, to have those last six hours with her there. That was really cool…Also, to have her during the really sad parts of the Final Four was cool.”
The next day, Lyons and his mom went out for a well-deserved breakfast at the Waffle Shop.
Remember those 64 bathroom trips we mentioned before? Yes, they actually happened. Lyons drank a ton of water to stay hydrated and, naturally, nature soon called. Not only that, but the hot water from the BJC bathroom sinks helped keep him awake and felt really good…until he washed his hands so many times, his hands started to bleed.
“The hot water was super nice. So, I’d run my hands under the water so much…By the end, it had made my hands so dry that my knuckles started bleeding…By the end, it was so painful. I would go to the urinal and just rest my head on the wall,” he said with a laugh. “It was bonkers.”
When it was finally time for his 46-hour journey to end, he was in the presence of Chris and the Snowboard Club, who, by the way, welcomed Chris into the group with open arms, too. When he finally sat down at about 4 p.m. on Sunday, he was understandably pumped, which may have caused some confusion from those around him.
“It was kind of funny because no one in the stands really sits down,” Lyons said. “You know, dancers do on the floor. So, I think everyone around us was probably pretty confused and was like, ‘Why is this one dude around us sitting down and getting super hyped?’
Overall, Lyons’s journey had some ups and downs, but in the end, it was all worth it.
“It’s nothing compared to what the kids have to go through,” Lyons said. “I definitely recommend it for other people to do.”
Editor’s note: Standing in the stands for 46 hours without the care of Dancer Relations or other THON committees can be a dangerous undertaking. We do not encourage or authorize doing it. This post was written for people who choose to do so on their own.
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About the Author
Onward State’s 17th managing editor sat down with us to talk about the blog, Penn State, and what he does in his free time.
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