Sunday, March 7, 2004

Still More DM

I just looked really hard at the Willard website for the first time since before I actually moved in. I've glanced at it once or twice to check up on things, but looking at it now, I'm somewhat overwhelmed.

I remember looking at all the photos of exec and central board people this summer when trying to decide where I was going to live. Specifically, I remember looking at the photos of Karl and Heather and appreciating Erin Fitzgerald's comment: "Be who you are and say how you feel because those who mind don't matter, and those who matter don't mind." (Props, Dr. Seuss, you literary genius.) The website really was what convinced me to try for Willard. Then at the Cincinnati NU get-together, meeting people who were living there (Julia, Zach, Zak, Grant, Rebecca) started to make it a reality.

I had no idea then, or even when moving in what a great experience this dorm would provide me. I've met so many amazing people here, so many brilliant, talented, and giving people. I feel like Dance Marathon was the culmination of all of the feeling that Willard exudes and more. I know that I have a home here and these people are my family, and simply put, my family rocks.

Matt sent an email to the listserv today about DM, commenting on the amazing 9th block (hours 24-27). Here's part of his email, since I cannot possibly describe this experience any better:

We had already been dancing for a day before we got to the block where we
wore our Willard shirts. And when we came out onto the dance floor for
that block (the one-hit wonders block... AMAZING!) there was this giant
mass of light blue, all dancing together. It was a fucking dancing sky.
It looked incredible and we intimidated. But that wasn't the best part.
While we were all dancing together, "Get What You Give" by the New
Radicals DEFINITELY came on, and it. was. amazing.
Everyone was jumping, aerial hand-clapping (props to Peter "the" Kahn),
and just dancing their minds out, flailing about. No one was spared. It
was the most positive seizure of all time

Dance Marathon was such a positive experience for me, I really cannot describe it. I, in all cheesy honesty, feel like I truly learned a lot about myself, other people, and the impact we all have on one another. You put five hundred college kids in a room and you tell them: Dance. For thirty hours... And they do it. And not only that, but they do it for an amazing cause. I was impacted emotionally in so many ways during DM and I'm completely happy I decided to participate.

Some of my favorite memories, aside from the moment described by Matt above...

1. "What's Goin On?" This song came on during the third block (Vogue) and I nearly lost it. I have so many fond memories of this song and there's nothing like screaming it with all your friends and going nuts.

2. Visitors, Sneak-ins, Gifts At my lowest point of physical and emotional energy, I saw John in the crowd, dancing. I can't describe how happy I was to see him. He lifted my spirits and my energy when I most needed it. Not to mention the fact that he and Brett came back later and snuck in bottled water (since DM had run out) and some Gatorade. :-)

Barrak was completely amazing and brought everyone popsicles. I had an orange one during "One Hit Wonders", the ninth block, and the block where everyone had their Willard shirts on. That orange popsicle did me soooo good. It was the most refreshing food I had the whole time I was there.

Sophie sent me some Gatorade that was a huge help once I ran out of water in the middle of the night! Bryan came twice to say hi to all of us... Heather made me a pin that says "'Rock DJ'" (Damn! Why didn't they play that f'n song, now that I think of it...) and she visited numerous times... even though I apparently fell asleep in the bathroom and missed her... Hm... We'll never know. God, I saw so many people, I can't even list them all. I just loved everyone for coming and saying hi, giving encouragement, and sneaking in to dance with us. You people rocked.

3. Breakfast Talks After eating, I joined Zeke over by the window where we propped our feet up in the air, ignored most of the performances, and just talked. We agreed that the night had not happened, since it was just a big sweaty dancing blur.

4. 80s Rock Out Jason and I completely expended all energy from about 5:15 until 6:45 am during the 80s block. I don't know where that energy came from, and I won't question it now, but all I know was, he and I rocked the dance floor... Specifically during "Walk Like an Egyptian". I mean, we even got compliments from the camera man who was following us.

5. 'N Sync with Josh Sharing a special duet to "I Want it That Way" with the amazing Josh.

6. Cool Battle Scars I broke through the skin on my left ring finger from snapping my fingers in the first two blocks. Is it possible? Apparently.

7. Sandwich Special: One slice of CC between John and Matt. Enough said.

8. Dancing with Harry Potter Oh, Harry and his sexy scarf... oh God.

9. Best compliment of all time You're neat.

10. Seeing What We Did Getting to see the children and their parents was unreal and truly an emotional experience. The father who pumped his arms into the air when his son finished reading; the boy who said that Willie the Wildcat was a beast, but a nice one; the girl who loved being able to be on the screen in front of everyone; the kids dancing in the back with their parents and other dancers; the founder and the other mothers who started the organization out of the top floor of an ice hockey arena. These people are inspiring.

11. More Willard Love And this moment is where it all truly came together for me. For the last song, instead of just grabbing a partner as the mediocre/lower than average male em-cee suggested, Willard just grabbed itself. We took up a huge amount of the dance floor, and just hugged each other, swaying back and forth. After dancing for thirty hours, raising over 28,000 dollars, seeing everything we were able to do for these children and their families, and spending an entire evening with my friends, nothing felt more right than to just be with them in that moment.

Thank you, Willard, for being such awesome people, exceeding my expectations from this summer, and making my experience at Northwestern all the more amazing because of it.

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