Students go to war in campus-wide Capture the Flag game


Sydney Laput

Ian Call, a senior in LAS, captures the flag scoring a second point for the white team during the campus wide capture the flag game on the South Quad on Thursday. The white team defeated the black team. 3-0.

By Yuzhu Liu, Staff Writer

“Rain or shine, come to South Quad at 3 p.m. to play.”

Dylan Murphy, sophomore in Business, dropped this message on the University’s unofficial subreddit, r/UIUC. He organized a campus-wide game of Capture the Flag that took place on the pouring Thursday afternoon.

Murphy asked the players to show up in black or white shirts, which automatically separated them into different teams. The goal was to steal the other team’s flag and take it back to the base.

Murphy said he has a natural passion for hosting community events. He organized a foot race in the fall and a snowball fight in the winter. According to Murphy, the Capture the Flag tied this line of games together to close out the school year.

“What I do is just to bring the University together,” Murphy said. “I’ve heard stories of people meeting new friends at these events, and the purpose of all these is for people to meet new people and experience something together.”

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Celia Cousineau, junior in FAA, joined the game of Capture the Flag with her friends from Adventure Club. Cousineau said she enjoyed rushing wildly outdoors and falling over in the mud rather than sitting inside all day to study for finals.

Murphy said he advocates for a varied college lifestyle.

“A lot of people live college in a very traditional manner — they do their studies and there’s the night scene, and it can get kind of repetitive,” Murphy said. “I have been a victim of that repetition. It’s boring at the end of the day once you keep doing that, so I guess I’m obsessed with creating new experiences for people to enjoy.”

Lee Rao, junior in LAS, said he had never been on the South Quad before participating in Thursday’s game. He said this game got him out of the house and let him explore new places on campus.

“I love this,” Rao said. “I came in like 15 minutes late, but as I was walking over, I saw everyone running around, and I couldn’t help but smile. It was just so happy to see people playing.”

Although Murphy worried that the turnout would decline due to the rain, he said the weather made the game better.

“It’s like a battlefield, right?” Murphy said. “It’s Capture the Flag. It’s a war. Rain just gives you an aesthetic vibe that you wouldn’t feel otherwise.”

The rising wind drove the rain in sheets as screams and cheers echoed through the vast quad. Dozens of players chased each other across the grass shiny with puddles, kicking up water that splashed their calves. Some sped on and flopped down on the ground. Everyone’s clothes were crumpled, soaked and mottled with mud.

Despite feeling cold and tired, Tiana Blake, junior in Education, said the scene was very cinematic.

Melissa Singleton, senior in LAS, compared the rain to a trial by fire. She said while it added up the difficulty of getting close to people, there was much more spice.

“Only the real ones show up,” Eastern Hoggard, senior in Engineering, said as the white team who won all three rounds of the game as they ate the pizza Murphy ordered.

Rao said he had never played Capture the Flag in adulthood.

“You play these games as a kid, but then you grow up, you never get to do crazy things like this again,” Rao said. “It’s cool to play childhood games as an adult. You’re bigger, stronger and more aggressive.”

When asked about the craziest element in the game, the players mentioned what they called the crane gambit. As the final round allowed both teams to hide the flags, the black team placed theirs in the crane under the McFarland Bell Tower, which marked the boundary line between the two teams’ bases.

According to Rao, the black team put considerable defense at the back to confuse the enemy and successfully kept the white team busy looking for the flag for more than 20 minutes.

“Everyone was frustrated,” Blake said. “We hid our flag in a really risky place. We took a lot of risks, and they didn’t pay off. But it was so fun.”

Rao and Blake said they expect more events like this in the future.

Now awaiting her graduation this May, Singleton said this classic game brought her back to the most diverting part of middle school Physical Education classes.

“I was almost not going to come, and then I was like, ‘No, you should do it; it’s your last chance to just be a young student and have fun,” Singleton said.


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