Of Monopoly and Naked Men

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A handful of international students, people unwilling to splurge for a plane ticket home and all fall varsity athletes are left to occupy Oberlin over break. Some Oberlin students go a little mad, binging Halt and Catch Fire or futilely reaching out for companionship over Yik Yak. For the men’s soccer team, we’ve found the best way to adjust to an empty schedule is to fill it with something even more stressful than schoolwork, and perhaps more scandalous than an anonymous hookup: Monopoly.

Quickly slicing through the shadows and trying to avoid prying eyes, three men run a naked circle around North Quad, cursing themselves for bad trades and worse luck.

At Oberlin, we have a reputation for thinking progressively, for taking things a step further than other people would. Even in a game of Monopoly. Whereas students at other schools might get their gambling fix betting money on a game of darts or cards, Oberlin soccer players have played for laps for years. Naked laps. Even on Monopoly, the higher the stakes, the more laps the losers run. No matter the weather or people around, if you lose, you run through the quad, baring it all.

On fall break’s first Saturday night, I sat down at my dining room table, facing my rivals and weighing three pewter tokens in my hand after a big win over a rival soccer team and a pitcher of margaritas. Should I be the car? No, too cliché. The shoe? I’ve never been one for lace-less footwear, so I think I’ll pass. Finally, my housemate talked me into the hat, claiming anything Abraham Lincoln wore would allow me to “honestly” destroy my competition.

I started the game with two consecutive doubles rolls, setting me up well to control the coveted orange-red section. With seemingly every turn, the dice spelled success and my property stack swelled, making me feel like a poor man’s (and good person’s) version of Donald Trump. When my opponents landed on my squares, my confidence grew and so did my pile of money. I owned half the board as the game neared its end. I needed only one more bankruptcy to send my three adversaries on their bare-bottomed trek through campus.

Ultimately, our goofiest freshman met his doom at Kentucky Avenue. I escorted my charges to the quad, rapidly texting my other teammates to come see the show. As we walked across the street, our gleeful shouts about naked running drew a crowd. Making our way past two cross country runners trying to walk across a tightrope, the exposed harriers covered themselves modestly, waiting to reveal it all until the race began. With a drum roll and a, “3…2…1…go!” they took off, flying around the quarter mile oval. One or two raucous whoops broke through the quiet darkness, and the players lucky enough to avoid my Monopoly wrath instructed the runners, “Hurry up, before security comes!” “Don’t let him catch you!”

About halfway through the run, a minor cramp felled one of our lovable Monopoly losers, resulting in a naked tumble across two asphalt slabs and a patch of particularly rocky dirt. Hastily, I went to check on him, taking care to avoid his member when checking to see how badly he’d skinned his knees. As soon as I began to panic I had injured him with my fake-business acumen, he assured he was okay. Filled with relief, I slung him over my shoulder, helping him to the finish line.

I get it, many schools have teams or clubs that play games. Many schools may even have evenings of drunken Monopoly. But if there’s another place where a Monopoly victor helps his naked soccer teammate complete a punishment run, I’ll eat my pewter hat.

Sam Bernhard goes to Oberlin and has two dreams: adopting a dog and having his own Wikipedia page. He also plays soccer, interns at Conan, and watches a lot of professional wrestling.

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