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Sunday, Feb. 25, 2024
The Observer

When Duncan is nuthin’, and Baumer is best

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USC and ND. North Quad and South Quad. Zahm, and literally everyone else. Rivalries have been, and always will be an integral part of this campus we call home. Little did we know, though, that the most heated rivalry we have would all begin with eggs.

On Aug. 30, at approximately 1:15 a.m. in the morning, Duncan attacked my home of Baumer Hall with the weekly grocery commodity. Reportedly, the assailants were a ragtag group of mischievous teens, sneaking to my door with over a dozen cartridges concealed in hand. At the windows, at the doors, at the very steps I walk up every day — they took aim. It only took a few minutes before yolk was spread all over the exterior of Baumer Hall. It seeped into the concrete; its stench filled the air. It ruined the perfect aesthetic of what is perhaps the most beautiful dorm on this campus. No matter how much Duncan enjoys having highlanders as their mascot, that’s super low.

It only took around half an hour for a few heroic Baumer men to realize what had happened, sparking a flurry of Slack group texts. As victims completely blindsided to the crime, we felt defeated and pained. We felt hurt and betrayed. We felt dazed and above all, very, very confused. Why on God Quad’s green Earth would a brother dorm do this to us? Is it because our freshman routinely beat you at Spikeball on Friday nights? Or is it because we have Fr. Pete as our priest, who blesses us with his smile every morning? Be it one reason or another, it was clear that as the new dorm on the block, we were being picked on. But in Duncan’s attempt to agitate and annoy, there was one key variable they failed to account for: Baumer’s ability to fight back.

Within 30 minutes, a group of 20 had brainstormed over 10 acts of revenge. “We could egg them too!” someone said. “Or we can twist their volleyball nets!” cried another. Each brilliant idea served as a testament to the brilliant minds which got us into this school. But it was clear that none of these ideas would be enough. For the men of Baumer, something special had to be done — something so brash that no one would ever egg our hall on again — something so unique that it would lift the heartache we felt at one dorm’s attempt to steal the dignity of another. It is for this reason we saw only one option. We buckled down, and stole your stuff.  

 Executed at around 2:30 a.m., a select few of Baumer ransacked the surrounding fields of Duncan faster than students scattered from NDPD on South Quad. Among the items taken: two tables, two soccer nets, a Cornhole board, a Spikeball net, a 10-foot tree branch, a $3,000 weight rack and even a jet ski. Plus, you know your sword-based logo resembling an uppercase D? Well, we added a curve and brought it up to a B. Told only through private Snapchat stories that have forever been lost to the ether, it was a night when Baumer had won its first revenge.

Of course, time would soon sober many of us, and the kids responsible in both halls eventually stepped up to accept the consequences. We had learned for sure that vandalism is still illegal, and that stealing an entire jet ski is still pretty wrong (really, rectors, the guys feel bad about that one). But still, I think this night taught us all something else as well.

In this time of deserved caution on campus, many of the college joys we were hoping to embrace now seem to be out of reach. Social distancing has made forming close bonds harder than it’s ever been, intramural activities have long been put on hold and the Fighting Irish football games so many of us dream for are now tailgate-less and regimented. For a new dorm like Baumer, I can only say that these feelings of loss are heightened. None of the incoming freshmen were able to enter this year having the ritual-led dorm life they expected. And despite the upperclassmen’s best efforts, the culture of an established brotherhood just wasn’t something we could offer. 

Having this night, though, did something special for a lot of us. It showed the guys in the hall that there are still ways to build a strong community and that becoming unified behind a cause other than pre-existing traditions is still something you can do. And of course, while the “unusual” methods we used certainly will have to change, I think this is a message other dorms should take on too. Don’t let COVID-19 stop you from innovating new ways to find a close connection, or discover the joys you initially expected when first coming here. As long as we abide by the proper HERE guidelines, heck — organize an event, throw a social gathering, take a leap of faith and ask an entire sister dorm’s section out to dinner. Make sure you keep exploring new ways to capture that college experience all of us here deserve. And if you’re Duncan, I even have a suggestion on where to start. Clean up those eggs. 

Edward Brunicardi is a sophomore at Notre Dame pursuing a major in Political Science and a minor with the Hesburgh Program of Public Service. Though he may have had all the creativity sucked out of him in high school, writing serves as Edward's best chance at getting something back. He can be reached at ebrunica@nd.edu or @EdwardBrunicar1 on Twitter.

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.