URI gets messy at ‘Muddy Gras’

“They say ‘don’t play in the mud’ as a kid, but you’ve always wanted to. Now, you get to play in the mud as an adult,” Director of Oozeball, Mike Lawson, commented on what is so appealing about URI’s dirtiest tradition.

If you haven’t heard about Oozeball before, you may have been trying to connect the muddy dots left around campus this past Sunday, as articles of clothing, caked in mud, littered bathrooms and doorways. URI’s Oozeball is a 27-year tradition hosted by the Student Alumni Association (SAA) that combines the traditional sport of volleyball with an untraditional twist: mud.

One of URI’s most popular events begins with what SAA members call the “Hole Dig” in which the members of this organization start excavating URI’s field to create the deep, muddy courts that students would soon be diving into. On the day of the event, URI students put on their team jerseys and their most expendable pair of sneakers, and head down to the mud for some friendly competition.

This year’s theme was “Muddi Gras”, a playful pun which only exemplified the energetic atmosphere of child-like happiness as students were able to let loose with their friends in a proactive way. URI junior, Christina Racassi, who has been playing Oozeball since she was a freshman, said, “It was a perfect opportunity to de-stress with friends before the craziness [of finals] begins.”

While registering your team may have been an easy process, some students felt conflicted about the price. At $90 per team, $15 per person, Suzana Smith, a freshman, was worried about the cost. “I thought the price was a little high, considering your team might only get to play one game,” she said.

Others felt differently. “It was reasonable,” Joel Emmott, a sophomore, said. “Even if you lost your first game, they made up for it with the free food and drinks.”

In addition to fueling up for your next game, participants had the option to play mini games to pass the time, such as human pong, twister, a rock wall, and tug of war, all with a muddy twist.

“For the most part everyone seemed to be really enjoying themselves and having fun with it. Things got a little competitive during my team’s game because we were so close, but it was all in good fun,” Racassi said. “I love the mud and had so much fun playing in it. During our game I didn’t get too muddy but after our game we played tug of war and then I was covered. It made for a good picture,” She added.

Putting this event together was not an easy task. “We have weekly meetings in the start of the spring semester,” Lawson said. “It’s a lot of time and commitment for everybody, not just myself.”

After a successful day, Lawson is ready to pass the Oozeball torch to his assistant, Rachel Kane, who will be the next Director of Oozeball. “I want to say thank you to everyone who participated, and all the people who volunteered their time,” he said. “And thank you to the people who supported the Student Alumni Association.”