Math Club Blongoball Experience
On November 17, 2020 Sierra Burton, Kirby Steckel, and Obehi Ozua hosted a glow-in-the-dark event on the Academic Mall. They made sure that COVID-19 protocols were followed and were supervised by Oliver Agger-Shelton. We allotted 10 minutes between each time slot for cleaning and only allowed 6 people other than the officers to attend the event in a time slot. As attendees arrived, they were given hand sanitizer, given their glow-in-the-dark gear, were told the rules of the game, and instructed to only touch the colored balls they were assigned to. After completing a round, the winner was then entered into a raffle for prizes that would be distributed after the event. All attendees were given Rubik’s cubes of various shapes.
Preparing for this event, I learned about how to host an event and all of the preparation that goes behind the steps of hosting an event which contributed to my development of a 21st-Century skill. Being able to communicate efficiently and effectively is an essential skill to have, especially in times of a pandemic when people’s time is valuable and getting to the point quickly and effectively is imperative. Creating and hosting this event also helped me to learn how to construct a well-managed life. From various meetings with the Southwestern staff to conducting meetings with the other officers of the Math Club, having an 18- credit hour workload, 2 jobs, and 2 officer positions all while still trying to make time to spend time with friends, having a well managed life was key to this event being successful.
This event was a meaningful academic experience for those who attended because they (especially first-years) were able to get a break from homework and actually be able to enjoy part of the Southwestern experience of the community. Before the pandemic, I remember going to just about every event that the university had to offer simply to connect with the Southwestern community in various areas. This event gave me the opportunity to give that experience to returning students, first years, or simply just students who needed a break from work.
Before coming to the event, none of the attendees aside from myself knew about this game.They expected to simply have a good time, learn something new, hopefully win prizes, and to be able to play with the friends they signed up with. The general consensus of what people learned was stated by Kirby Steckel, Vice President of the Math Club, when I asked him about tips he would give players for Blongoball. He said, “It depends on which route you’re going to go. If you’re going to go up and over or straight away. If you’re going to try to go for a straight line, you need a bunch of power and need to make sure you flick your wrist a little bit, so that the two balls attached to the string rotates. If you are going up and over, you don’t want a lot of power because then it will just fling way over or to the side of the set”. Over time, players also learned to make their parabolas higher instead of flatter when they threw because the rung worth the highest amount of points was on the top, so in order to get those points, they had to have a parabola with an x-intercept of zero that would be right on that rung. In addition, they also learned that they could bounce the ball on the ground in order to acquire points and so some of them used that route to win the round.
Overall, attendees enjoyed playing the game, the free prizes, and the laughter that came
with trial and error of trying to throw the balls onto the set.