The sky was a cloudless pale blue and everything was quiet. The city was calm, except for the softball fields on Boston Common, where a group of nearly 20 Emerson students gathered for the second annual Emerson Hunger Games.
Upon entering the field this past Saturday, Nov 14, there was buzzing excitement from the eight future tributes — or participants — and the spectators who came to find out which two lucky winners would score tickets to the midnight premiere of the new Hunger Games film on Nov. 22.
The sounds of Duran Duran’s “Hungry like the Wolf” filled the air, putting everyone in the hunting mood. Accompanying the music was frequent shouts of “I volunteer as tribute!” from members of the crowd as the minutes passed and those who were brave enough to battle put on their white T-shirts — the symbol of their participation.
Then, the games began.
The Emerson Hunger Games was sponsored and run by the Class Council of 2015, headed by President Nicholas de la Canal, a journalism major. This was de la Canal’s first year participating in the games, and he said he was eager to kick off the event.
“We knew right off the bat that we wanted to do the Hunger Games fundraiser, and we’d been planning it since the start of the year,” said de la Canal. “It was something we definitely thought Emerson students would appreciate.”
The event was officiated by the Class of 2015 treasurer, Michael Kelly, who said he was happy with the event’s turnout.
“The event is something we decided to do last year after getting ideas from another similar event,” Kelly, a junior performing arts major. “This is our second year, and last year we used markers instead of paint, and had balloons to pop and flags to pull.”
To participate in the games, aspiring tributes had to take part in the Emerson Reaping. In The Hunger Games series, picking tributes is called “the reaping” because it determines who will compete to the death. For the event, prospective tributes were asked to donate a dollar or a canned good. Each dollar or can donated equaled a ticket with their name being put into a raffle.
The fundraiser raised $31 and four canned goods, all of which will be donated to the Greater Boston Food Bank.
Spread out around the baseball diamond — or the symbolic “cornucopia,” where the eight tributes in The Hunger Games movies are able to receive their weapons — were three stations, which each had red, yellow, or green paint. The tributes lined the fence across the field, spread out and ready to run.
The goal of the game was to run to the paint stations as quickly as possible and tag fellow tributes with three different paint colors. If successfully executed, the mark would “kill” the tagged tribute. The last two standing, without being hit by all three colors, would win.
As soon as the countdown ended, the tributes sprinted toward the cornucopia to get their paint “weapons” and compete. Within minutes, paint was flying and white T-shirts were tie-dyed with red, yellow, and green. By the time the final three tributes were standing, the game got fierce, as tributes threw entire buckets of paint on each other.
In the end, though, two victors came out on top: freshmen Tyler Powles and Samantha Durand.
Yamel García, a freshman visual and media arts major, was one of the 11 spectators at the event, and said she came out to see a few of her friends participate.
“I really like the fact that they used paint. I think last year they used balloons and socks, so I feel like paint was a colorful alternative,” García said, “I think the best part was when they started throwing paint at each other. I kind of wish I volunteered, but I’d probably be the first one out.”
Fourth runner up, sophomore political communication major Susannah Sudborough, said she was interested in participating from the start of the event, especially because of its charitable aspect.
“I wanted to participate mostly because I am a Hunger Games fan,” she said. “Unlike other events, I knew that even if I didn’t get picked [to be a tribute] that the money was going to a good cause. I … felt that it was a win-win situation.”