October 18, 2012
It is an honor to attend the 16th best liberal arts school in the nation, as ranked by the 2013 U.S. News and World Report. But with this honor comes the responsibility of representing Hamilton College, ensuring that its prestigious reputation is upheld. In 2004, students had just that in mind when they formed Streak to Win, Hamilton’s own streaking team.
For Fallcoming Weekend, Oct. 5 through Oct. 7, there were many Hamilton sponsored events, including the opening of the Ruth and Elmer Wellin Museum of Art, the first home football game, a lecture on Ezra Pound by Professor Austin Briggs and the Campus Activity Board screening of Streak to Win. The movie was shown in the Kirner Johnson auditorium on both Saturday and Sunday. As usual, free popcorn was provided, and CAB surprised the audience by distributing stickers and temporary tattoos.
The 2009 documentary Streak to Win is a collaboration of three Hamilton alumni, and the founders of the team: Executive Producer Peter Holzaepfel ’05, and directors Sean Tice ’06 and Adam Bedient ’04. The documentary follows the 2004-2005 Hamilton varsity streaking team. Although the origins of streaking are unknown, Hamilton was the first school to boast a varsity streaking team, although not officially N.C.A.A sanctioned or affiliated with Hamilton College. As one team member explained, they are the “Lewis and Clarks of streaking.” The team was officially established in 2004, although students had been streaking on campus in previous years. As the team grew the members agreed that it was time to take things more seriously, which is why they started training and cutting members of the team who were not fit enough. Eventually streaking at Hamilton became stale; like other varsity sports teams, the streakers wanted to travel and compete against other schools. As one member aptly stated, “streaking at Hamilton got old, like the seventh season of Friends.” With this sentiment, the team decided to begin their NESCAC tour.
The movie documents the entire experience of the tour: the streaking, the transportation of the team via Winnebago, the team chemistry and dialogue with the students and onlookers. The tour consisted of competing against 12 other NESCAC schools in five days. The creativity and audacity of Hamilton students is tangible when the team competes; the team does not merely strip and run. No, they consider streaking to be a constantly evolving art form. At Connecticut College, the team took a walking tour of the college, in the nude to show that, as one teammate put it, they were “sticking it to them.” The members also showcase their originality by wearing masks and pretending to be birds by flying in a V formation.
Highlights of the tour included their competitions against Middlebury, Bates, and Wellesley. At Middlebury, the first stop on their tour, the team streaked a rugby game and one student stated that they “shocked and offended people. We were called a disgusting bunch, which was awesome!”
At Bates, a Bates student joined the team temporarily and led them through the dining hall but contributed to losing team member Craig, which almost cost them the win.
At Wellesley, the police apprehended three of the streakers, and two teammates fought in the middle of the streak. The team attributed this near-loss to poor planning, but persevered and finished strong, claiming that there is “no point in crying over spilt nudity.” Even with two tricky competitions, the team ended their tour undefeated and maintained their No. 1 national ranking.
The streaking team is still active at Hamilton, and has already made multiple appearances this year. They are known for appearing at heavily populated events, such as Accepted Students Day, First year Orientation, and at Burke library during exams. Hamilton students are proud of the streaking team, as it epitomizes everything they value— creativity, artistic expression, “work hard, play hard” attitude and acceptance. The team evolved out of the desire to differentiate Hamilton from other liberal arts colleges and to mock the status quo, but it has become so much more than that. As one teammate exclaimed, “streaking has taught me that if you find something you love to do, just do it,” with the addition of an expletive.
As one member so eloquently put it, “streaking is an artistic expression we’re all trying to make, and if you don’t get it you’re stupid.”