Zac VanderLey—Staff Writer
Fender speakers played elevator music and bowls of Great Value Pretzel Mini Twists from Walmart (apparently an old person snack) sat on a few tables scattered throughout the Grille area. The candy bars, Chick-Fil-A gift card, and succulents (all prizes) lined up next to a stack of freshly printed bingo cards. Around ten people mingled around and found their seats a couple minutes before 2:00 p.m.
On the horizon, like a herd of charging wildebeests, appeared a group of twenty or so students, followed by another ten, and more groups of five. Jake Thorsteinson rushed off to supply more bingo cards as tables filled up. One of the last groups to arrive dressed up as elderly folk.
Thorsteinson, a member of Dordt Student Activities and leader of the event, cranked a bingo machine full of numbered balls. He called out, “N39.”
Then the great bingo onslaught began.
Some people placed a Smarties candy onto N39’s space—if they were so fortunate to have it on their sheet. After about five numbers, Thorsteinson claimed his arm hurt from rolling the machine.
Finally, a bingo. But not one to be replayed on SportsCenter.
The winner did not yell out “bingo,” which elicited some glares from other members of the more consistent bingo crowd. Her numbers were correct though, and she became the first winner of the night.
As the event wore on, more exclamations, murmurs, and sighs of angst could be heard after every number called out.
The boards were reset and a new chance for bingo fame and glory began. After just six numbers, freshman Greta Haas called bingo. Others put their hands to their head in frustration. Haas had completed her card in only six callouts. But none could question the spectacular feat of both speed and precision.
“Do you think there will be bingo in heaven?” Thorsteinson asked an ecstatic Haas.
“I sure hope so,” she replied.
A few numbers later, Maddy Sharkey bingo-ed for the second time of the afternoon. She was met with less applause this time around as compared to her previous win. The Dordt crowd pulled for the underdog.
As more people filled their cards, the succulents cleared from the prize table, much to the dismay of the crowd.
Then the marquee match commenced: the blackout round. Here, every space on the bingo card required filling for a bingo.
After ten or so numbers, someone called for a traditional bingo. More than a few students groaned and rolled their eyes.
“We are playing blackout this round, but great job,” Thorsteinson said. “That means you’re getting closer.”
Eli Dykstra eventually won the grueling blackout Bingo match. Only four balls in total were left in the roller at the conclusion of the round.
“Now we will play a combination of Never Have I Ever and Bingo,” Thorsteinson said. “Plus, this is the Dordt edition.”
The first category announced was ‘have you attended a wing event.’ All those who had attended a wing event and owned the specific category on their sheet, covered it with a Smarties candy. After a few more minutes, Sharkey once again called Bingo: her third of the afternoon. More than a few eyebrows raised.
After Thorsteinson called out the next category, the focused murmurings turned to loud exclamations and commotion.
The group of young people disguised as old people ended the night strongly. Three out of the five at their table recorded a Bingo.
After all of the matches were complete, Maddy Sharkey, the clear victor of the afternoon with her Dordt record of three bingo-s, testified to her strategy: “It was prayer, good luck, and a deep hearted love for bingo.”