The chocolate milk mile: community through pain

Sofia Bouma – Staff writer

Every year when the month of March inevitably rolls around, a peculiar energy fills the air. In theory, it could be due to the hint of spring that starts to present itself on select days throughout the month. It could be that graduation is coming closer with each passing day, or it could be the many engagements that seem to bombard my Instagram feed every weekend (gotta get that MRS. degree, right?). But the whispers in the grille, the basketball games shown in 55th, and the constant checking of CBS Sports all point to one thing: March Madness.

March Madness is all-consuming for an entire month; I can’t go anywhere without hearing someone mention Purdue (I have no idea what that means) or lamenting the fact that a team they thought would win the whole tournament lost a game. Almost everyone I know is involved in a bracket through their college club, sports team, family, or place of employment. Even those who have no knowledge of basketball, like myself, will randomly fill out a bracket in order to participate

Perhaps the most alarming enactment of a March Madness bracket on Dordt’s campus is the cruel and unusual punishment that the track team has dubbed, “the Chocolate Milk Mile.” According to Thaniel Schroeder, senior member of the track team, this coming milk mile will be the 7th annual one in Dordt history.

If you haven’t heard what the milk mile entails, I will inform you. The chocolate milk mile is exactly what it sounds like: those who participate must run a mile, drinking a glass of chocolate milk before each lap. If a participant throws up during the mile (which is not a rare occurrence), the individual is required to run one more lap—though fortunately they are allowed to forgo another glass of chocolate milk.

How are the lucky participants chosen, you might ask? The students who partake in the painful ritual are selected from those on the track team who choose to participate in the team’s milk mile March Madness brackets. Once the brackets are made through the CBS sports app, people will monitor their progress throughout the month. A percentage of students who do the worst in their March Madness brackets are selected to run the mile, and the students who do the best in their brackets get the privilege of choosing someone to run the mile.

When I first heard of the milk mile, I admit I was disgusted at the thought of 18–22-year-old men throwing up on a field. But I think my opinion on it has changed.

“We invite a whole bunch of people out to the track, and they have a lot of fun watching it. I don’t know what it is about watching other people suffer. People like that,” Schroeder said.

Even without the fun of watching the painful milk mile, Schroeder explained that keeping track of the brackets throughout the month builds community.

“People are always checking their brackets and watching games together. So, it just builds a lot of interactions between the team and other people,” Schroeder said.

Perhaps people find community in pain, and I can respect that.

Contributed photo

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