Friday, 17 January 2014

Sleepless in SUB: AntiFreeze 2014

AntiFreeze 2014

During the first week of the winter term I spent more time in SUB than I did in my own home - not because I was trying to get a head start on my course work but rather because I participated in AntiFreeze 2014 as a member of the Campus Food Bank’s team the Imperishables. The Imperishables were one of 30 other teams who chose to forego sleep, warmth, and the normally relaxing start to the semester for the SU’s fast-paced, intellectually challenging, and altogether lively student winter games. Admittedly, I missed a couple of classes and I definitely fell short of the recommended 8 hours of sleep per night, but I couldn’t have picked a better way to start my final semester at the U of A.

AntiFreeze Talent Show

As a first time AntiFreezer, I didn’t quite know what to expect when I  signed up. Thankfully stalwart leadership and the general enthusiasm that I have come to expect from my fellow Campus Food Bank volunteers quickly brought me up to speed as we launched into the first and probably most fun challenge of the games: the photo hunt. 

For the photo hunt each team was given a particular prompt and tasked with representing the clue in the most innovative, creative, or outrageous way possible. My personal favourite sequence that we shot was for the photo prompt “she came in like a wrecking ball.” You can see what we came up…

AntiFreeze - UAlberta Students recreate Wrecking Ball with Mac and Cheese

The photo hunt required a staggering amount of dedication and collaboration and fully embodied all the things that make AntiFreeze great. Throughout the week there were numerous contests involving feats of strength, endurance, creativity, problem solving, and standing outside in the cold. Though the skills used for each challenge were varied, the commitment that the competition took and enthusiasm expressed by each and every team was constant. 

Other highlights of the event that stood out for me included:

The Arctic Expedition

AntiFreeze Yeti Hunt
Photo courtesy of Mangineer182 on Twitter

On the first Wednesday night of the semester, each team was given the task of hunting a yeti that was hiding on campus. Given that yeti tracking is not something that we usually do, we were given a series of clues to help us locate the beast (so it was less of a hunting expedition and more of an “Amazing Race” style scavenger hunt, which is still pretty great). 

Teams had to select two runners who had the noble but challenging duty of running around in the cold for several hours. While the event was only supposed to last for 3 hours, the clues that were given to the teams proved to be more challenging than the hard-working Antifreeze coordinators may have anticipated which resulted in nearly an extra hour of problem solving and searching. 

AntiFreeze "War Room"

The “war room” in front of the SUBstage was filled with teams huddled around laptops and phones, all working to solve the riddles and puzzles that  their runners had found. Loud debates and whispered rumours could be heard throughout the room as teams not only pooled their collective campus knowledge but also made deals with other teams. 

I spent most of the night with a laptop in front of me and a phone up to my ear, relaying information to our runners while anxiously trying to solve the clues. In the end, the Arctic Expedition combined the need for fitness, creativity, communication, and teamwork making it the cornerstone of the week-long event.


AntiFreeze Sled Competition
Photo courtesy of the Wanderer Online
If you noticed the track with the large letters of Antifreeze stuck into the frozen ground of QUAD then you have already seen the battleground for another one of Antifreeze's biggest competitions: the sled pull. 

Each team was asked to make a sled and on a Thursday afternoon they were brought in front of CCIS to be tested on the track. The sleds were varied in quality, ranging from impressively built wooden sleds to creatively constructed cardboard boxes. Some teams went for style over functionality while others chose speed over beauty. 

Each team had 3 runners and 1 person in their sled. I was one of the (un)fortunate people tasked with being a runner, which meant running four laps around the frozen track. Readers, I can assure you that this was no walk in the park. Running four laps on uneven snow with a sled behind you, dodging other competitors and debris from fallen sleds made for a memorable yet challenging competition that resulted in numerous tumbles and some very sore muscles. 

The Final Push

Mixology Judges

Antifreeze drew to a close with Mixology 115, a competition that required each team to think of the most creative, impressive, and funny way to mix a drink for a panel of watchful judges with sophisticated palettes. 

Mixology was a great way to wrap up Antifreeze as it treated us to a fun show and allowed us to unwind at the end of a long and exciting week. Mixology also provided the venue for the announcement of the week’s winners.

Calculating all of the scores proved to a longer process than expected, but at 1:30 am, tournament-favourites the Reindicks were crowned the champions of AntiFreeze 2014. . The Imperishables managed to make the top 10, ranking number six out of the participating 30 teams. 

At the end of a thrilling and exhausting week, I finally got to spend a little more time away from SUB, though Antifreeze withdrawal has been hitting me pretty hard this week. The event was the perfect way to usher in the new semester and I encourage all my readers to try it for themselves next year. 


About the Author

Hello there! I'm Trenton and I'm super excited to be a YouAlberta Student Communicator. Though I spend a staggering amount of my time thinking about a syllabus for an imaginary Batman 101 class, my major is actually Political Science. I love to read, eat, and play around in Photoshop (sometimes all at once). If you're ever looking for someone to debate about a variety of nerdy topics, I'm your man.

It is my hope to tell a wide array of stories about the sides of campus life and student life that may not be immediately apparent. In doing this, I want to showcase the diversity, passion, and community at the U of A that constantly inspires me. My time at the U of A has been truly trans-formative and, as I enter my final year here, I can't wait to listen to and tell stories about the University and its students.


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