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MIT Holds Johnson Games In Honor of Sidney-Pacific

By Marissa Vogt

Thirty-six teams of students, faculty, and staff are expected to participate in this Saturday’s Johnson Games, a festival of physical and mental competitions to promote community and team spirit at MIT.

“The games are a community celebration for students, faculty, staff, friends, and guests to play in competitive games,” said organizer Ted E. Johnson, the director of community services.

The games return this year to celebrate the opening of MIT’s new Sidney-Pacific graduate dormitory.

Events to include races, BBQ

The games will begin Saturday at 1:50 p.m. with their official opening at Sidney-Pacific, followed by a procession to the athletic fields. They will continue until 5:30 p.m., and will be followed by a barbeque and awards ceremony.

The actual events planned will not be revealed until the day of the games, but previous competitions have included relay-type events, an MIT trivia contest, “Howard Says” (a version of “Simon Says”), dexterity contests, and a balance beam, all for teams to complete together. There will also be games for children.

Awards reward good, bad teams

Awards are given to the team with the most points, and to the best male and female participants. Humorous awards from past years have included the “Have you considered Harvard?” award, given to the lowest-scoring team.

Teams include 25 to 40 people, of which 40 percent must be students and 30 percent faculty or staff. The teams are also expected to have a roughly even male-female ratio. One third of the team members must be from a sponsoring group such as a living group, laboratory, or academic or administrative department. Points may be added to a team’s score for including MIT alumni.

Games help build community

“The games are a good way to be together as a team and be enthusiastic,” said Teal N. Bissell G, a returning member of The DeTerminators, from Course XXIV (Linguistics and Philosophy).

“I thought it would be a good way to get out of the office and meet new people,” said Bara Blender, this year a member of The Presidential Seals. Blender participated in the 2000 games as a member of the Vest Pocket Protectors, which placed 16th.

“We’d like to win the overall award this year,” Blender said.

Volunteers, participants needed

Anyone wishing to participate in the games who is not already a member of a registered team is welcome. Registration will be held at 1 p.m. Saturday at the 2 Pacific Street parking lot at the corner of Pacific Street and Albany Street. Volunteers are also welcome.

In the event of inclement weather, the games will be held indoors at the Athletic Center and Rockwell Cage.

2002 Games mark fourth ever

This will be the fourth time the Games have been held since their inception in 1988. That year, the Games marked the naming of Johnson Athletics Center for Howard W. Johnson, MIT president emeritus and former chairman of the MIT Corporation.

The games were also held in 1991 to celebrate President Vest’s inauguration, and again during Spring Weekend 2000.