Corner Pocket Olympics bring students and groups together

Last Friday night, the Corner Pocket and lobby of the Student Union were abuzz with students participating in the Corner Pocket Olympics. The Japanese Culture Club (JCC), Geneseo Area Gaming Group (GAGG), and Geneseo Anime Club (GAC), came together to provide students a night of entertainment and friendly competition.

Events included pool and ping-pong tournaments, and competition in the video games Dance Dance Revolution and Guitar Hero. Winners of each event received generous prizes, including pool cues, ping-pong sets, and a wireless console for Guitar Hero.

According to Margaret Armenia, a junior and the vice president of JCC, the event was held for the first time last year. "I thought it would be cool if we took over the Corner Pocket for a night," she said. Members of the clubs involved sought to create an event that would appeal to students of all interests. The success of the previous year brought forth the involvement of GAC and GAGG, who worked with JCC to create a celebration of the various Corner Pocket games that students enjoy every day.

JCC hosts cultural events and assists in Asian-American studies on campus, but wished to lead an event that the entire student body could enjoy. Humza Ahmad, a senior and treasurer of JCC, visited the Olympics last year and was eager to be involved in the event's second run. "We're focused on having a good time, that's what keeps JCC alive," Ahmad said.

Ahmad was also pleased with the cooperation that led to the event's success. "It was really great to see the synergy of the three groups."

Many members of the three organizations share interests, and the rosters of the three groups often overlap. Dan Fitzgerald, senior and president of GAC, noted that the club "considers themselves officially tied to these groups…it's good to do something together." GAC contributed to the Olympics by coordinating the Dance Dance Revolution competition that awarded the winner, sophomore Darryl Eychner, a set of the video game and console.

The Olympics also featured a ping-pong tournament that displayed participants' agility in this fast-paced sport. Returning champion Wesley Zeng Xiao Wu played his way to first place for the second year in a row. Zeng Xiao Wu received a set of ping-pong balls and paddles. The winner of the pool tournament was decided by a series of single elimination matches. Sophomore Adam Batt defeated many pool enthusiasts to receive first place and the prize of a custom-made pool cue.

Pizza and drinks were available to all participants, and even those who weren't aware of the festivities in advance enjoyed the competitive atmosphere. Kara Burlingame, a sophomore, came to the Corner Pocket for a casual night of pool before signing up for her first tournament with the Olympics. "Pool is a good pastime in college…it's a sport you don't have to shower after."

GAGG spearheaded the Guitar Hero competition in the front lobby to promote the organization's annual convention, Running GAGG, an entire weekend of gaming runs from Feb. 16 to 18 in the Union.

"You don't have to be a gamer to enjoy it," said Brian McCormick, a senior and president of GAGG. Participants of Guitar Hero were evaluated on skill and stage presence by a panel of judges: Joe Thompson, a senior and electronic gaming official of GAGG, McCormick, and Ben Keipper, a senior, acting as the "Paula, Randy and Simon" of the electronic guitar-strumming competition. As McCormick put it, "We're just rockin' out."

At the end of the night, the Corner Pocket Olympics ended with success. Those who were responisble for the event looked back on it with a sense of achievement, and the response of everyone involved was equally satisfied.