Quirky Club: Hide & Seek

Child’s play gets real.

“Everything in white is fair game,” Jonathan Jaster, a UT student, tells me as he gestures to the South and Main malls on a map of the Forty Acres. “You can climb trees,” he continues, then—eyeing my bright pink ballet flats—adds, “or not.” Jaster sits down on the lawn of the Six Pack, puts his hands over his eyes, and begins counting.

Five other players sporting orange bandanas around their necks take off running, with hiding spots clearly in mind. I scan the South Mall quickly and make a beeline toward the George Washington statue. Squatting behind it, I accidentally knock a backpack to the ground. “I’m sorry,” I say to the backpack’s owner. “We’re playing hide and seek, and I’m hiding from the guy in the white bandana.” I point to Jaster, whose hands are still covering his eyes.

A sophomore biochemistry major, Jaster modeled UT’s Hide and Seek club after a similar organization at Texas State University. Jaster, a self-proclaimed serious student, found the idea of playing in a space normally reserved for studying very intriguing. Comprised of mostly freshmen and sophomores, the new campus club meets every Tuesday in front of the Tower, using Facebook events to spread the word. Between eight and 30 participants show up each week to let
off a little steam after class.

While it might seem like all fun and games, the Hide and Seek club is serious business. Everything from the club logo and signage to bandana colors and game rules has been predetermined. Someone volunteers to be the seeker, puts on a white bandana, counts to 30, and tries to find people wearing orange bandanas. There’s no home base, so the last person to be found wins. Occasionally the winner is so incognito that he or she is never found. The other club members then walk around announcing the game is over to coax the victor out of hiding.

Jaster dreams of not only expanding the club to include more members, but also more games. On the docket: sword fights and sardines.

“I’m also building up the courage to ask my professors to come out to hide and seek,” Jaster says. “I think it would be really funny, but at the same time really cool.”

As my first game with the club continues, I can see Jaster wandering in and out of the courtyards in the Six Pack from my hiding spot behind Washington. About 20 minutes pass as I watch the other hiders get discovered one by one. Finally, I pop out from behind the statue and hold my arms up in victory.

“I can’t believe you were behind that statue the whole time!” Jaster says. And I didn’t even have to climb a tree.

Photo courtesy Thinkstock.


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