Drew University’s squirrels held their bi-annual Equinox Games last Monday, March 20, in celebration of the arrival of spring. The Equinox Games are perhaps the most highly anticipated event of the equinox festivities, and while it’s all in good fun and in the name of community, taking home first prize (such as all of the previous winter’s unclaimed acorns or knowledge of the secret routes into the walls of Sitterly House) for any event is a huge honor in the squirrel community. Some squirrels train all year for their preferred Equinox Games, which occur once in the spring and once in the fall.
The Games’ most popular event was, as always, the spoon-and-egg race, held on Asbury Lawn. Nearly fifty squirrels participated in the crowning event of the games with spoons and eggs obtained from The Commons by an anonymous Drew faculty member.
“The energy of the games is always so invigorating; it’s really a special event to get to witness and participate in,” said Oak Seedson, a participant in the spoon-and-egg race, as translated by The Druid.
The race began with all the runners lined up in front of Asbury Hall. The finish line was the path. When the Gamemaster—the renowned Sunny “Scamps” Forager—blew her whistle, the racers set off, spoons holding the eggs clenched firmly between their teeth.
Within the first 15 seconds, 17 of the squirrels had dropped their eggs (though none were broken because they were cushioned by the grass).
In another 15 seconds, last year’s reigning champion, Chip Branch, lost his egg after a truly admirable attempt to save it from its wobbly fate.
Only 17 contestants remained by the time the race reached the halfway point, with Dale Barkley in the lead. He was closely followed by his sister, Petra Barkley, in second place. Claw Evergreen lagged several feet behind in third place.
At the three-quarter mark, only eight racers remained with un-dropped eggs, and Evergreen had been overtaken, losing third place to the rapidly advancing Tommy Twig.
The final quarter of the race was a tense game, with Twig rapidly gaining on the Barkleys and three more racers losing their eggs.
Just a few feet before the finish line, in a devastating blow, Dale Barkley dropped his egg and was disqualified.
Petra Barkley quickened her pace in an effort to win the race, with Twig close on her heels. The only other remaining contestant, Moss Squeakley, lagged several feet behind them.
Twig and Barkley remained neck and neck for the final few feet of the race as onlookers held their breath. Just as it seemed Barkley might be the first-place winner she took a greedy step that bounced her spoon just a little too much, and her egg splattered on the edge of the path. Twig emerged victorious.
“I feel so honored to have won,” Twig said, as translated by The Druid. “It’s been a dream of mine since I was a kit, and––I mean, to compete at all is a huge honor, but to win, oh, it’s a dream come true.”
After the race, the winners of all the events of the Equinox Games, including the acorn toss and the cornhole competition, were crowned.
If you’d like to come out and support the next Equinox Games this coming fall or join in the other squirrel festivities, contact The Druid. You may do so by screaming into the arboretum and hoping The Druid responds.
Chloe Gocher is a sophomore majoring in English with a concentration in creative writing and minoring in Spanish.