Little 500: A Fresh(man) Perspective
By WIUX Sports Member Sean Nash
“The Greatest College Weekend,” is the tagline for Indiana University’s Little 500 festivities. Now some elders have told many of us, most likely a family member, that college is the best time we will experience in our entire lives. Little 500 takes this sentiment and crams it into 48 hours of fun and borderline insanity, (although some students turn those 48 hours into 168).
Being the first member of my family to attend IU also means I am the first to experience Little 500. This means my peers who have experienced the event already have influenced my expectations. If I were to take what I have heard over the past few months it would be safe for me to assume that Little 500, is a short period in late April where classes are cancelled and the laws of society do not apply to Bloomington. Sadly, this is not the case. I personally have had only one class cancelled this week and we have all been threatened with fines and possibly community service.
In all honesty, what intrigues me more than the social aspect of the weekend is the actual Little 500 race itself. Maybe it is because it is in my nature to be an over-the-top, insanely competitive person. Maybe it is because I have yet to mentally come to grips with the fact that I will never be a professional athlete. But when I heard how the actual event works, I knew that I wanted to participate in it at least once during my four years at Indiana. Opportunities have opened themselves to me in recent week, and I will be attempting to qualify for the 2013 Little 500, (that is unless the Mayans hit the nailed on the head with the whole ‘the world is going to end on December 22nd’ prediction). I digress. I will be racing for the fraternity of Kappa Delta Rho. Never heard of us? That may be likely and that is fine. My four teammates and I have dreams of changing that one year from now.
What truly makes the Little 500 race great is the fact that it is one of the last pure amateur sporting events in the country. Yes, Indiana Basketball is the first true love in Hoosier hearts, but in this day and age, the team is first and foremost a business. The Little 500 takes away the commercialization of the NCAA, the only thing that matters on Friday night at 7 and Saturday afternoon at 2, is winning. The stands are reminiscent of Friday nights in high school, where students would wear their school colors and would try to chant and scream for team to victory. Instead of a football field it is track. Instead of high school students in their school colors, it is college Greeks proudly representing their letters.
These athletes train year-round just for the opportunity to be able to look back and say they were a Little 500 champion. Although most of the riders will never win one of these races, I would bet a large sum of money that very few of them would say they regret participating. These riders are not typical college students. They train arguably just as much, if not more, than the scholarship athletes of Indiana. They also participate in one of the more dangerous sports that IU has to offer. I have a swollen right ankle that can vouch for that, and that is just from me learning how to jump on and off the bike.
To me there are few sites more exciting than 33 cyclists speeding around Bill Armstrong Stadium in a huge pack, just mere inches separating themselves.
Last 5 posts by Dan Karell
- Alex Cohen, lead broadcaster for the Huntsville Stars, returns to the Evening Schmooze on 4/30/12 - May 3rd, 2012
- Bill Murphy, the official Schmooze IU Athletics Historian, joins the Evening Schmooze on 4/30/12 - May 3rd, 2012
- Bob Ryan from the Boston Globe joins the Evening Schmooze for a Second Time on 4/30/12 - May 3rd, 2012
- Charlie Parker from the Manchester Guardian joins the Evening Schmooze on 4/30/12 - May 3rd, 2012
- Ryan Brewer, Professor of Business at IU-PU Columbus joins the Evening Schmooze on 4/23/12 - April 24th, 2012