'Battleship' brings out the buckets and banter

A Campus Recreation contest welcomed dozens of students to the high seas of Beck Pool on Friday to see which team could keep its canoe afloat the longest while strafing competitors with pails of water.


It doesn’t take torpedoes to sink a canoe. Large buckets of water do just fine.

Fifty-four students took part in Campus Recreation’s inaugural “Battleship” event Friday afternoon in Beck Pool with cheers, squeals, laughter and the occasional salute as sailors went down with their sinking ships.

Teams of three were each assigned to one of six canoes “armed” with buckets and defended by foam mats that deflected incoming water. The size of the event required three preliminary rounds where the last two canoes to stay afloat in each heat advanced to a championship round.

“The Untouchables,” a team comprised of Elon University senior Lia Webb and sophomores Shea Heavey and Kayla Hammer, captured the crown at the end of the afternoon. The trio outlasted second place finisher “Team Submarine,” made up of freshmen Chuckie Hawes, Brian Meko and Andrew Van Hoof.

More than anything, “Battleship” on March 14, 2014, afforded Elon University students a chance to build community and make new friends with the approach of midterms and Spring Break. Winning was secondary.

After all, students said, there isn’t much strategizing to be done after the whistles sound. Attack your opponents and hope for the best.

“Once you go out there, you can’t control a lot. You throw water and have fun!” said freshman biochemistry major Susan Reynolds, who convinced several friends to take part in the event. “The boat goes where it wants to go, and the water goes where it wants to go!”

Rules prohibited students from bailing water out of their canoes. And once the number of boats dwindled, additional obstacles were introduced, such as eliminated teams being allowed to throw water from the pool deck and lifeguards pushing ships toward each other.

Violations resulted in water being added to the offending boat or, after two offenses, disqualification.

Nor did treaties work out well for some teams. “We made truces with three boats,” said freshman Justin Vieira, a strategic communications major from Rhode Island whose team “Don’t Sink” couldn’t live up to its name. “They turned on us in the end.”

Of course, sometimes it’s simple physics that ends your chances. Senior Baden Piland, junior Matt Johnston and sophomore Rob Britt discovered that three larger men in a canoe dropped their ship lower in the water than lighter competitors. There’s was an early exit from the first round – but that didn’t matter.

“It’s something fun and unique to do with friends,” Britt said.