May 09, 2006


So, at some point in the middle of the Great Weekend of Chaos Mark II (Mark I, having been occasioned by my own wedding), Anna and I saw fit to attend graduation. Plans were made to meet people before graduation and meet with the graduates afterwards and we felt generally good about ourselves and our planning foresight... and then it rained.

To those of you not familiar with graduation at LeTourneau, it is an outdoor extravaganza the like of which could not be replicated indoors... especially due to the estimated annual attendance of 4,000 graduates, professors, family members, friends, students and alumni which no building on campus could hold. But, the show must go on, and so it did. Solheim Arena was chosen as the new venue for graduation, being as that it is one of the largest indoor venues on campus and is adjacent to the Belcher Auditorium, which is nearly as large.

Anna and I showed up at roughly 9:20 and weaseled our way to a much nicer parking lot than was being used for the typical alumnus (we do know our way around campus) and then found our way into Solheim. After a bit of confusion, we found seats next to Rachel Wheeler (that does sound odd) and Daniel Leatherwood, and there we stayed... for a bit. At around 9:40 or so, it was announced that Solheim appeared filled to capacity and that everyone should take his seat so that if the room was not already at capacity, it could be filled to such. Scarcely a minute later, all students, alumni, and all people who weren't an immediate family member of a graduate (or a grandparent) were asked to relocate to the Belcher Auditorium for overflow purposes.

As an aside: anyone who knows me knows that I am not really about to be told to go give up my hard-earned seat to some twit who showed up late and lacked the foresight which my friends and I posessed. That said, I am not without sympathy... and when my wife rather pointedly tells me that she's not about to be the reason that some parent doesn't get to see his or her child graduate in person, I'm not so cold and callous (or stupid) as to contribute to ruining some parent's day (or to land myself in the dog house) by refusing to budge.

So after an intense internal struggle, some pointed interjection by my wife, and Leatherwood making his own exit, Anna and I made our exodus from the Solheim Arena and into the hall leading to Belcher Gym. The hallway had filled to capacity in the intervening period since we'd left it and we progressed at a crawl towards the gym, all the while being packed in from behind by a sea of likewise-disgruntled humanity. Roughly half-way down the hall, we were joined by faculty and staff who weren't directly involved in the graduation process and had volunteered to sacrifice their own seats for family members... which is kind of depressing when you realize that some of these faculty and staff are part of the only family that many students have for four or five years, but I digress.

As we neared the door to Belcher Gym, the line ground to a halt, and it was at this point that a revelation which had been nibbling at the edges of my mind came to the fore... the graduates sit in Belcher before they go out to the graduation ceremony. So the graduates would have to fight through the sea of humanity to get out of Belcher, would be generally unable to leave their posessions behind, and would carrying their posessions with them outside and around the building, due to being unable to fight down the hallway from whence the bulk of the attendees were coming. It was a generally disheartening thought, and one at which my wife arrived at about the same time.

Waiting at a stand-still in the gridlock, looking forward to watching graduation on a live feed (a black-and-white live feed operated by an absent-minded camera-man), Anna and I asked each other if breakfast wouldn't be far superior to the experience that awaited us. A moment of discussion mostly centered around how in the blazes we would get out, looking back over the glutted halls surrounding us. However, Anna's gaze alighted on the doors to the dressing rooms, and she informed me that she knew of a back exit. That settled, we left, promising to return for the post-graduation festivities.

The remainder of what followed will be chronicled elsewhere, except to say that we were vastly unimpressed with what happens at graduation when it rains. There has to be a better solution out there, and someone really ought to find it.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at May 9, 2006 11:38 AM | TrackBack