Scott Dallen (2L)
During the first week of the new year, twenty-seven U of T Law students travelled to Vancouver to compete against other Canadian law schools at the 2017 Law Games. UBC hosted a great week, following a general Game of Thrones theme. At the end of the week, the folks at Ultra Vires asked us to provide a recap of the events. We couldn’t remember. So we racked our five-hour-energy- and ibuprofen-addled brains, and we cobbled together our patchwork memories into a review of Law Games 2017.
This piece amounts to three things: (1) an accurate (I hope) account of the week’s events, (2) a nostalgic ode to Team U of T’s wild mediocrity, and (3) a cry for help—we are not okay.
Every year, law students gather at a host university to abuse their bodies through long days of sports and long nights of social events. What started as a one-day hockey tournament in the 1980s has evolved into the largest gathering of law students in the country. This year boasted sixteen schools, fourteen ‘athletic’ events, and over six-hundred law students.
U of T arrived at Law Games sporting our U of T-branded onesies and armed with our house words—“Debt and Tears.” After one or two feeble attempts at a team cheer, and one excellent choreographed rendition of Justin Bieber’s ‘Sorry,’ we all immediately lost our voices and adopted U of T’s characteristic complete lack of school spirit.
Our pals from Dal set a high bar for the party scene early on with their pirate theme, immediate rowdiness, and—as has become tradition—full-frontal male nudity in front of a panel of Blakes partners. U of T made a solid showing, throwing inarguably the best hotel party of the week, and being labeled “this year’s USask”—which is either the highest praise or a crushing insult. Regrettably though, the English schools spent the week trying to keep up with the hangover-immune nineteen-year-old French students. Three Sherbrooke students outdid us all by having “Law Games 2017: No Ragrets” permanently tattooed on their thighs to win a Snapchat challenge. Touché, Sherbrooke. We hope it was worth it.
Every year, Law Games hosts an academic moot that U of T typically ignores completely for reasons of both practicality and laziness. After all, if we win, we reinforce the stereotype that we’re just a bunch of U of T nerds; if we lose, the other teams get bragging rights to say that they beat those U of T nerds. This year, however, 1Ls Becky Lockert and Tom Sutherland stepped up to the mooting plate to take down Sherbrooke in what I can only assume was a reasonably accurate recreation of the Battle of the Plains of Abraham.
On the sporting front, our team made U of T proud by marginally surpassing the exceptionally low expectations for our athletic prowess. We limped our way out of the week as champions of obscure events (Ultimate Frisbee and Spikeball), though we also made a valiant effort in most sports. We suffered a predictable loss in the flag-football finals to Western Law (aka the Monstars from Space Jam), who inevitably made their way to the Athletics Cup, one overzealous and inappropriate dump-tackle at a time. Perhaps the week’s climax came when we sent out a girls-only dodgeball squad against Western’s team of varsity athletes (Western immediately complained that this was unfair). Most of all, we took twisted pleasure in confusing other teams into submission by aggressively cheering for our opponents and by insisting that #WeDoSports.
Team injuries were kept to a minimum this year, but are nonetheless worthy of documentation. First up was Nabeel Thomas, with a devastating pinky-finger injury on Day One as a result of an overly ambitious mechanical bull ride. After a day of suffering through ball hockey, Nabeel spent the remainder of the week watching Oceans 11, 12, and 13, being awarded drunkest team member of 2017 (none of us having seen him sober since Monday afternoon), and contributing to the ninth floor’s Leaning Tower of Domino’s Pizza boxes, impressive and revolting in equal measure.
Next up was Graham Henry, who defended U of T’s honour by picking a fight with the dance floor of a Vancouver nightclub. Unfortunately, the concrete floor bested dear Graham in the first round. Battered, bloody, toothless, and almost certainly concussed, he spent the rest of the night in St. Paul’s hospital and received a hero’s welcome the following day. In particular, the University of Manitoba adopted Graham into their group, mistaking his delirious and toothless countenance for one of their own students.
Lastly, Jackson Foreman earned one hell of a shiner by defiantly headbutting the largest member of the Dalhousie team—a coterie of eternal runners-up, known for keeping their elbows sharp and playing handball with no regard for human life. (In reality, Jackson clumsily collided with Jon Farine, but understandably requested a less embarrassing story in order to justify his disfigurement.)
U of T concluded the week on a high note, having achieved our goal of proving that our school is more than just a collection of heartless corporate dorks: we’re a collection of heartless corporate dorks with somewhat stronger livers and slightly higher athletic abilities than is universally assumed. And that is something worth celebrating… after we’ve had some time to recover.