Dean’s Cup Brings Competition to Spring Semester

By: Lucas Barta, 2L
Sports Czar

General George S. Patton once said, “Battle is the most magnificent competition in which a human being can indulge. It brings out all that is best; it removes all that is base.” Well, my friends, the dawn of battle draws near once again to our sleepy city in the Shenandoah, as the Dean’s Cup Law School Softball Tournament approaches.

Dean Hellwig, Bat in Hand!

Dean Hellwig, in what is clearly not a photoshopped image, the latest namesake of W&L Law’s Dean’s Cup. | Source: www.law.wlu.edu

Gone are the “steroid-free” 3Ls from the Class of 2015. Gone is the switchhitting and fielding prowess of last year’s tournament MVP, Reagan “Weird Power” Loper. All that remains are a crop of proud 3Ls who wish to remain atop just a little longer, a wolf pack of concededly over-competitive 2Ls who don’t know how to calm down, and a 1L class that looks as lost on a field as they do in an Administrative Law lecture. And yet, for all their imperfections, each of these students, no matter the age, will feel the gravitational pull of greatness on that weekend in March. The sting of a late-winter morning; the smell of cheap keg beer, local barbecue, and competitive anxiety. These are the sights, sounds, and scents of glory waiting to be realized.

As always, the format of the tournament is simple: The first day will be a round robin schedule, played on Friday, March 18th. It was mentioned to the Sports Czars that this date immediately follows Saint Patrick’s Day and could result in some, shall we say, sluggish performances. To this objection, however, the higher powers have said, “He who imbibeth heftily on the eve of the Cup must rally with equivalent vigor.” The round robin matches will determine the seeding and schedule for the next day’s playoff rounds.

Friday evening will play host to the famed W&L Home Run Derby, which really amounts to John “Guys… I’m athletic, I swear” Fitzgerald chasing greatness on the heels of David “Top Kirgis, Top Dog” Cook and Paul “I like the Bartender” Keith, who will actually have a chance at winning. Rumors have already begun to swirl that Fitzgerald, who lost in a surprisingly close walk-off match with Keith last spring, has been studying X-Rays of Keith’s childhood injuries (unconfirmed). Strong contenders Tom “Big Diesel” DeMatteo and McNair “Home-Schooled Your Ass” Nichols represented for the 2Ls last year, and may be poised for an upset again. The 1Ls probably don’t have any talent to speak of, but a dark horse is always (technically) possible. On the ladies’ side, with Elizabeth “Yeah, I played in College” Flachsbart’s departure, the field is wide open, and your guess is as good as mine as to who will fill her shoes.

Saturday, March 19th, will be the day of reckoning. A double-elimination playoff tournament will be held from morning to dusk with an all-day cookout on the Patio. A raucous crowd of heckling spectators and disoriented pets leashed to lawn chairs awaits the gladiators as they enter the life-or-death playoff diamond. Hearts will be broken, horrible student-umpire calls will be made, and someone will undoubtedly manage to strike out swinging at a slow, underhand pitch. The champion crowned wins nothing but pride, and yet, is there a prize sweeter than pure victory?

Andrea Marshall, Homerun Queen

Homerun Queen Andrea Marshall swings for the fences. | Photography by Annie Brickates

This year’s competition will likely feature one to two teams from each class. Early favorites have pegged the 2L’s reigning Law School Football League Champions, the Hung Jurors, as early frontrunners to make a run. However, the quality that makes Dean’s Cup a unique tournament is the unprecedented roster flexibility that is allowed by the Czars’ rule book. Individuals may play on multiple teams in the round robin tournament but must declare a “favorite team” to play for whenever their roster spot is in conflict in a game. Naturally, this will lead to all sorts of back door waiver-wire pickups and contract dealing, especially for some of us athletic gunners who live in a perpetual “high-school glory” state of mind and need to compete in order to breathe. As a result, it’s often difficult to project favorites, or even full rosters, until the tournament schedule is actually set. The real dark horse comes on the wings of the faintest of rumors that a faculty team may be involved for the first time in school history. After their surprise challenge to the 1L flag football team this year, the great educators seem to be feeling themselves and have received an invite from our Czars to participate… should they wish to enter the Danger Zone.

Much is known in legend about this great tournament, and yet so much more is uncertain: who will claim victory? Who will be crowned Home Run King and Queen? Will somebody’s dog relieve itself in another student’s duffel bag for the second year in a row? Beware the Ides of March, ye law students of Lexington, for what awaits just beyond them could change your life forever

Categories: Sports