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Dedication: Men Carry Large Wooden Table Over Mountain, Through Stream To Play Extra Picturesque Game Of Pong

The time: 2:25pm. The place: Hoxsey Street. The tunes: Metro Boomin. Three friends, Ryan Smith, Jack Grant, and Nico Place, all ‘24, woke up with one idea in mind: carpe diem. Or, if you don’t know Latin, seize the day.

It was a beautiful, spring afternoon in Williamstown. The sun is shining, the birds are chirping, and for the first time in 8 months, there is no trace of snow on the ground. 

All three friends decided to skip their 2:35 p.m. class and enjoy the shining sun.  Being in their senior spring, this trio is no stranger to the sunny Friday afternoon.  The boys have played shirtless pong outside of every dorm on campus, the front yard of every Hoxsey house, the backyard of every Hoxsey house, Spring Street (yes, on the pavement!), the Green River, the Hoosic River, the train tracks, the Clark, Stone Hill with cows, and Stone Hill without cows.

Having exhausted the campus’ picturesque backdrops, where were the boys to play today? They had already played in the hay; they had already played on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Ramadan day.  Where oh where should they play on this fine Friday?

That’s when Smith had an idea— the greatest of ideas. How about an Appalachian hike? Williams College, in the beautiful Purple Valley, was full of lush scenery to put to use on a brilliant afternoon.

“But you gave Hayden your car!” said Grant. “How do we get all the way there?”

“We’ll have to brave the wilderness,” said Smith. “We can do it, we three are strong as a bear.”

And so the boys marched across the quad, ping pong table in tow. As passersby noticed the men, they reacted as lo. Most looked with faces of weird expressions: confusion, disdain, raised eyebrows and squinted eyes. Others gave the men looks of approval, and one joined the men in their quest for the prize.

“We’re here at college for the experience,” said Alan Brad, who had joined the quest. “Not for the education, you can learn anything from Wikipedia. We’re here to make lasting connections so we can get consulting jobs once we graduate.”

The boys continued onto Cole Field, then the side streets, then the bridge, until they reached the Pine Cobble trailhead. They embarked on an inclined trek, their breathing heavy and their faces sweaty. After a while, Brad begged for a break.

“Isn’t this spot good as any?” he asked, gasping for air.

But Smith shook his head. “The perfect spot is where the legs of the table were made to rest. Where the air is cool and the trees dance. This is not the spot to end our pong quest.”

So the boys continued on their hike. They climbed over leaves and trekked through leaves. Grant collapsed at the foot of the elven-fairy tree. 

“Can’t we set up here? My asthma’s kicking in!”

But Smith refused. “The perfect spot is an open field where the spirits of nature play and grin. This is not the spot to end our pong quest.”

“Forget this!” said Brad. “We’re done. I’m turning back, guys.”

“Me too,” said Grant. “I don’t have my EpiPen.”

“Oh, come on, boys,” said Smith. “We’re on a quest! To play the game of pong that will be the best!”

“Well I’m on a quest too,” said Grant. “A quest to not die. If you want to go ahead, I’m not stopping you!”

Grant and Brad stalked down the hill, panting and puffing. Smith shook his head, and though he refused to admit it, he wished they would turn back.

“Let’s go on,” Smith said to Place. The two of them picked up their table and carried on their way. 

They made their way over the summit of Pine Cobble, not even pausing to take in the view. Even the mountain’s summit was not enough to satisfy Smith’s desires. They hiked down in silence, each of the boys lost in thought. Smith didn’t realize they had reached a stream until he noticed his shoes were wet.

The boys didn’t even need to communicate. They simply lifted the table over their heads and waded through the stream. When they emerged on the other side, they realized they were almost out of the tree cover. 

“Could this be it?” Smith whispered under his breath, stepping into the sunlight. Immediately, the boys felt they had been transported to another land; butterflies fluttered their wings, birds chirped, and uncut grasses danced in the wind. Purple mountains in the distance were set on fire by the setting sun, and the nearby stream was loud and soothing.

“We did it!” Smith exclaimed, setting down the table. He and Place immediately started a shirtless game of pong, their quest fulfilled. 


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