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Fierljeppen makes a big splash on campus

Photo courtesy Calvin Annual Fund.
Photo courtesy Calvin Annual Fund.

The seminary pond, home of the annual cardboard canoe race and sem. pond jump, may be gaining a new tradition.

Fierljeppen, Dutch pole vaulting, is the latest Dutch pastime that has found its way to Calvin’s campus. Buck Fridays premiered its version of the sport at Friday night’s “Party at the Prez’s.”

In Calvin’s version of fierljeppen, a ramp is set up at the edge of the pond and a long pole is stuck into the ground so it leans on the top end of the ramp. Students run up the ramp, grab the pole and try to coordinate their fall to land on a raft floating in the pond.

A couple dozen students turned out for the pole vaulting experience and to compete for the $200 grand prize.

“I pole vault for Calvin so I feel like I had to at least try this,” said junior Christina Geating.

According to students, this was one of the more difficult seminary pond challenges.

“It’s more nerve-wracking than you think it is,” said freshman Daniel Vandenbrink. “When you get to the top and you actually grab onto the pole, you think you might not make it half the time.”

Midway through the event, the raft that jumpers were landing on ripped and deflated. Buck Fridays leaders quickly regrouped and changed the objective from accuracy to distance; the farthest jump would win.

“It just became a whole different game,” commented Vandenbrink. Now, he said, there is less skill involved — people can just run as fast as they can to get a longer jump.

The Buck Fridays team was not fazed by the accident.

“That is a typical part of a Buck Fridays event,” said Buck Fridays intern Lauren DeGroot. “We have to modify all types of things to make it work, and that’s part of the job. You have to be flexible and creative and think on your feet.”

Despite the mishap, students said they enjoyed the event because of its originality.

“Buck Fridays has gotten really creative this year and I really appreciate that,” said junior Lauren Farris

The different types of programming invite a different crowd to participate that may not have always wanted to participate, she said.

Students also enjoyed the open atmosphere of the event; there were no walls or boundaries restricting access to only those who had paid a dollar.

“You can just come and make a s’more,” said Farris. “You don’t have to participate too much; it’s like a hangout spot.”

The winner of the event and the cash prize was junior Steve Brown, who did not anticipate the victory.

“I just stopped by here,” said Brown. “I was playing soccer and I wanted to see the boat racing, and then I heard about the prize, and I was like ‘I’m already sweaty,’ so I figured I should do it — I’m gonna shower anyway.”

Brown said he plans to use the money to pay some college bills, and added that he wanted to use his champion title to represent all of Calvin’s environmental engineers.

According to DeGroot, the night had a great turnout.

“People are enjoying themselves and that’s what it’s all about,” said Degroot. “We hope it is a tradition, but it all depends on people’s interest and if they really want to pursue it.”

About the Author

Anna Delph

My name is Anna Delph and I’m the photography editor for the 2013-14 school year. I’m a sophomore, born and raised in the suburbs of Dallas-Fort Worth. I intend to major in something like photojournalism or documentary film. I have been taking pictures since I was old enough to hold a camera and I'm glad to finally put my hobby to good use.

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