Lindsay Pearlman ’15 was petting a dog at Saturday’s Freshman Olympics on Old Campus when a student wearing a Berkeley College T-shirt snatched the Morse College flag out of her hands.
Morse was one of four colleges to lose their flags in a spate of thefts committed by Timothy Dwight College students during this year’s Freshman Olympics. Though Morse racked up 265 points to take home the trophy while TD finished in last place with a score of 15, members of the college said their string of thefts — which also included stealing the event’s trophy before the games commenced — helped compensate for their dramatic loss.
Sonya Levitova ’15, a co-captain for TD’s team, said her college never expected to win the competition, and that stealing the trophy and flags became “a funny joke.”
“If we had finished second I don’t think that we would have done what we did,” she said. “There’s a kind of delicious irony in finishing last but stealing four residential colleges’ flags.”
Though Davenport College was disqualified in the 2011 Freshman Olympics for stealing Pierson’s flag, TD did not face any similar sanctions this year, said Leandro Leviste ’15, a member of the Freshman Class Council, which organizes the games.
The thefts began Friday night during the opening ceremonies when a TD freshman stole the “unguarded” Freshman Olympics trophy from a bench in the Lanman-Wright courtyard, Leviste said. The FCC sent an email to the freshman class Friday night demanding that those responsible return the trophy. A police officer at the scene had witnessed the theft and was aware of which residential college was responsible, the email said, adding that if the trophy was not returned, that college would face disqualifiaction.
Later that night, Gabby Zamora ’15, one of two FCC representatives responsible for organizing Freshman Olympics, received a message from firstname.lastname@example.org stating that the trophy would be returned by the end of the games on Saturday. Leviste said the FCC put together a replacement trophy — a spray-painted flower pot — in preparation for the closing ceremonies.
Toward the end of Saturday’s events on Old Campus, TD freshmen announced that they had the cup. A Morsel ran to grab the original trophy, Leviste said, and along with other members of the college managed to grab the prize during a “short tussle.” But during that time Morse lost the replacement trophy, which again had been left unguarded in front of Durfee Hall.
The flags of Berkeley, Davenport, Morse and Silliman colleges, along with the replacement trophy, remain in TD’s possession. Leviste said TD Master Jeffrey Brenzel has spoken with the thieves, and the flags will be returned by Monday. Levitova said her college intends to keep the stolen replacement trophy.
FCC member Rachel Tobin ’15 said she felt the rampant flag-stealing tainted Freshman Olympics, though she added that it “raised the level of competition a little more.”
Fabi Fernandez ’15, co-captain of Davenport’s team, said the theft of his college’s flag was a result of karma given last year’s events. Fernandez added that he hopes TD will return Davenport’s flag soon.
Five TD freshmen interviewed declined to reveal the thieves’ identities. Mary Jo Medina ’15 referred to them as “a TD secret.”
Despite the thefts, all students interviewed said Freshman Olympics still served as a traditional bonding experience for their class.
“Whether they were interested in athletics or not, everyone was there to participate and have a good day,” Tobin said. “I think that was the best thing about it, just seeing everyone come out.”
Some participants said they felt the playoff portions of events and award ceremony at the end were subdued because many of the underperforming colleges left earlier in the day. Medina estimated that only three or four colleges remained by the end of Saturday, calling the final events “anticlimactic.”
Tobin said the finals were held to the end of the day to build students’ excitement, but added that future FCCs should consider timing playoff rounds to occur earlier.
Saybrook College took a close second to Morse, with 240 points.