If Gustavus sports were in The Hunger Games

Raquel Vaughn-

Dystopian is making a comeback! With the new Hunger Games movie, The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, hitting theaters on Nov. 17th, the dystopian genre is resurging. We’re taking it back to middle school where we spent a religious amount of time defining our personalities based on which district we were from, what faction we were in (Divergent), and whether or not we’d be a runner (The Maze Runner). We all probably have an idea of what role each major and minor would play in the spectacle that is The Hunger Games. For instance, Health and Physical Education majors would be from any of the Career Districts and Film and Media Studies minors would be from the Capitol. But with Gustavus sports pulling win after win, let’s imagine each sports team in the context of Suzanne Collins’s dangerous contest: The Hunger Games.

Starting strong, the Football team would most definitely come from one of the Career Districts. The “Careers” are Districts 1, 2, and 4, and they are mostly known for their strength because they are taught the arts of combat and survival since participating in The Hunger Games was considered a high honor. Similarly, Gustavus Football players are skilled, built, and all-around some of the most intimidating people on campus. Would they win The Games? It’s hard to say, because although we suffered defeat during the most anticipated Homecoming game, we still won on Oct. 21st and broke a 10-year losing streak against St. John’s. If Gustavus’s Football players ever found themselves in the arena, their fate would be just as lucky, if not more, than Cato, Clove, Glimmer, and Marvel in the movies.

The Men’s Hockey team follows suit with Men and Women’s Soccer. All three teams would come from the Career Districts. Men’s Hockey would be from District 1, where their industry is manufacturing luxury items. Each District in Panem, the fictional country within the world of The Hunger Games series, has a distinct personality and industry that is exclusive to that part of the nation. District 1 is known for its strong relationship with The Capitol and its wealth. Both Men and Women’s Soccer teams would be residents of District 2, which has the most victors of any District and is known for its manufacturing of masonry, weaponry, trains, and supplies for the Peacekeepers. The Peacekeepers are Panem’s military soldiers. Gustavus soccer provides the school with enough excitement that keeps the peace. How does that make sense? Good question, it just does.

The Swim and Dive teams would be from District 4. You might be wondering why every team mentioned so far is from the Career Districts and it’s probably because we go to a private school. District 4’s industry is fishing. Because of that many residents have experience in all things considering water and are extremely skilled swimmers. The Swim and Dive team just had a meet against Luther College and came out with a “W,” 179-58 for the Men’s team and 160-83 for the Women’s team. And it’s giving Finnick Odair.

District 6’s industry is transportation and could be considered home to Gustavus’s Track & Field and Cross Country team. Would they win The Games? Considering our Track & Field team is stupid-good (and I’m not just talking about NCAA Champion Birgen Nelson or only the Women’s team in general), one could argue that these athletes would take The Games by storm. Track & Field and Cross Country aren’t afraid of the arena…the arena is afraid of them.

Teams that would leave the arena looking like post-Catching Fire Hunger Games: Gustavus’s Volleyball, Women’s Basketball, and Women’s Hockey are worthy tributes. The girlies pull through when it comes to athletics here at Gustavus. Volleyball –winning two MIAC Championships in a row plus other honorable mentions– would have a high chance of winning The Games. Volleyball gets a lot of traction from both students and parents. In Suzanne Collins’s world, Volleyball would have the most endorsements. I would say the same for the Women’s Basketball team. Considerably small with just 19 girls but extremely mighty with three semi-recent MIAC Championships, Gustavus’s Women’s Basketball team has a strong and loyal fanbase. With help from their Head Coach Laurie Kelly — who herself could be considered a Victor when it comes to her many accomplishments listed in the St. Thomas Hall of Fame — Gustavus’s Women’s Basketball could go a long way in the arena.

As for the Women’s Hockey team, who are National Champions, they would win The Games. It would probably be a close call and a lengthy fight to the finish line, but Gustavus’s Women’s Hockey has always had great potential to be nothing short of Victors. They could create something bigger than themselves, similar to Katniss Everdeen in the series. Is Women’s Hockey just Gustavus’s version of The Mockingjay?

There are other sports as well that deserve mentioning, like Baseball who would put up a good fight in the arena, Golf and Gymnastics who would probably find themselves being pitted against Women’s Hockey, and Softball who would genuinely try their best. But nothing gets past Gustavus Tennis. Specifically the Men’s Tennis team. If Women’s Hockey is Katniss Everdeen, then Men’s Tennis is Peeta Mellark.

Unfortunately, I can’t say the same for our Men’s Basketball team. As much as we love them, and as much potential and grit as they have, they would probably be that one tribute who would step off the podium a second too early. We appreciate their eagerness and are loyal to them nevertheless.

And lastly, the club sports: who are, without a doubt, residents of District 13. They exist, they kick butt, but they do it under the radar. Similarly to District 13 in The Hunger Games, Women’s Rugby is out here with the ammunition to take down the system. That’s what makes club sports so powerful. Would they win The Games? No. They’d obliterate them.