March 11, 2011
The Amazing Race, BU Law-style
“He was the first governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony and founded the First Church in Boston.”
Puzzled? If so, you might have fallen behind, but for the nearly 100 student participants who correctly identified John Winthrop and snapped a picture in front of his church on 66 Marlborough St., the clue was one of many that took them throughout the city as a part of BU Law’s first Amazing Race—Boston, on October 15, 2010.
“We wanted to come up with a community building event that would keep participants active,” says Josh Cooper, Associate Director for Student Affairs. “We figured it would be good for 1Ls to get out and explore the city.”
On race day, each team of 2-4 students was given a packet with nine clues alluding to various historical—and not-so-historical—sites around Boston to be photographed. These clues were matched with tasks specific to the site. For example, teams were told to strike a football-like pose in front of the plaque in the Boston Common honoring the Oneida Club, the first organized football team in America. Each member of the team was required to be present in the picture.
Once the sites and tasks were identified, teams could walk, run, or use public transit to navigate between them, and were encouraged to strategize a route before leaving campus.
“We almost knocked over several people, got yelled at when we asked people to take our photos, and had to stop repeatedly to tie our shoelaces,” said Thanos Matthai (3L), part of the winning team.
Teams were penalized for missing checkpoints, but could make up time by doing various bonus tasks, like getting pictures with a Duckboat driver or a Faneuil Hall street performer. A team picture with a man with a mullet subtracted two minutes off the final time—three minutes if it was a woman with a mullet.
The Amazing Race—Boston ended at the Dugout Café across the street from the BU Law Tower. The final challenge—solving a jigsaw puzzle—sought to test competitors’ skills dating back to their Kindergarten days.
“We were the first team to arrive at the Dugout. In fact, we arrived a few minutes before the organizers arrived there,” said Matthai, whose team set the precedent for Amazing Races to come. “The three of us were in a state of exhausted euphoria and didn’t really know what to do.”
Amazing Race—Boston was one of several new student activities promoted by the Student Affairs Office during the fall semester. Such events provide BU Law students with a light-hearted escape from the intense coursework and competition otherwise associated with law school. Given the race’s success, it could very well become a BU Law tradition in years to come!