Throughout this COVID season it has been difficult for clubs, Student Activities Committee and Residential Life to put on events. Masks and social distancing make in-person fun a hard standard to achieve. However, this past March 19th, Dykstra Hall received the green light for a time honored tradition, Fight Night. The Anchor sat down with Delilah Van Vanderwerf, the Resident Director, and Macy Broelzuinga (’22), a Resident Assistant, to get the inside scoop on the electrifying event.
Dykstra Hall Fight Night is a tradition that has been beloved by Dykstra girls for almost a century. It all started when Brigite “The Tank” Van Hoetsma decked Elizabeth “Spitting Viper” De Jong when De Jong was seen using Van Hoetsma’s typewriter. Their RA, in an attempt to make an event out of anything, reportedly spent five (5) whole minutes conceptualizing the cage match style tournament that was to take place. Van Vanderwerf explained, “It is a way for our residents to blow off steam and it really is inspiring to see another Hope tradition get passed down.” When asked about her thoughts on the founding of Fight Night, Broelzuinga commented, “It’s like Nykerk, if Nykerk wasn’t a sexist copy/paste of the Pull.”
Residents volunteer to enter the competition by filling out a Google form and getting cleared by the Health Center. The competition takes place over six rounds. The first round takes place within each cluster. Van Vanderwerf says, “It’s my favorite part! It is sad that it is at the beginning so it is over fast but it is so exciting. Imagine a battle royale but with a lot more scrunchies and eos lip balm.” In the first round all of the volunteers from each cluster start the competition by fighting all of their fellow clustermates until one remains victorious. Broelzuinga says, “A lot of girls call that round ‘Battle to the Death,’ it is also the only round we have medical staff on call, since a lot of girls aren’t ready for the heat and the Health Center closes at 5pm.” After a girl from each cluster wins the battle royale they are declared a “Cluster Champ” and are given their competition nickname. Van Vanderwerf commented, “The nicknaming is such a special process for our girls. Each nickname is picked by the competitors the champion beat senseless which really makes each nickname feel earned.” A former participant in Fight Night herself, Broelzuinga said of her nickname, “My nickname was ‘Bunny Killer.’”
After each cluster champion wins their cluster fight, the competition becomes a more traditional bracket. Each cluster champion fights another in hand to hand combat until a victor remains. For the most part the fights take place in the various clusters, except for the semis and the finals. In order for all Dykstra residents to view the final fights, these take place in the Stralley (the street/alley that exists between Gilmore Hall and Dykstra). “It really brings stakes into the game,” said Van Vanderwerf. When asked what she meant by that, Van Vanderwerf answered, “Bare concrete is a battle skin can’t win.” An unidentified Dykstra Fight Night attendee commented on the semi final battle, “I will never be the same.”
This years winner was Anna “***** Violin” DeVos. She is the recipient of adoring praise from her peers and one (1) $15 Lemonjello’s gift card. Van Vanderwerf, a graduate of Hope and another Fight Night veteran, said of her time in the competition, “I didn’t win, which was kinda sad, that LJ’s gift card would’ve really cheered me up while I was at the hospital.”
This past year has been full of challenges. The highs and lows have been dizzying, but for Dykstra Hall residents it has been stabilizing to know one of their most sacred traditions has been observed. “It’s good to know that while national politics have been wild and the coronavirus has taken a lot from us, that we Dykstra girls can still gather round the stralley and watch our sisters take a chin to the concrete. It really brings us together.”