31 May, 2012

{this memory} 53

This is the story behind last Monday's {this moment}.

You're in New York - at Utica College to be precise. For nine olympiads the Psychological Society sponsored the Rat Olympics between 1980 and 1987.

It was huge! In its most successful years it was necessary to hold qualifying heats on one day and finals on another, and in 1986, it changed from a spring event to a fall event. Local elementary schools would bring classes to observe. Newspaper coverage from all over Central New York. Television coverage. Only female rats competed, however, because the males were too large to fit through the tubes used in two of the events.

What were the all-time records you ask?

          250 cm Sprint - 1.2 sec - Defiance
          500 cm Run - 2.3 sec - Defiance
          Maze - 3.3 sec - Poco
          Tube Crawl - 1.9 sec - Rosie
          Weight Lifting - 350 gm - Wendy
          Obstacle Course (seen in image) - 5.6 sec - Caution

Remarkable! How does a 200 gm rat lift 350 gm?! I guess you had to be there, but in the face of declining student interest and other pressures, the olympics ceased to exist.

So many wonderful memories - I am a fortunate man.