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Owl Fight Outside Bragdon Hall

By Nisma Elias '12 on December 19, 2011 02:47 PM

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Barbed wire, fireworks, and a high-speed car chase marked the apparition of Reed's sacred idol last month, when the Doyle Owl was unveiled publicly for the first time this academic year.

On the evening of November 5, rumors of the Owl's imminent appearance prompted scores of Reedies to trade in their hipster glasses and skinny jeans for hard hats and war paint and wander through campus hoping to capture the elusive Fowl.

Two rockets went off at 9 p.m., apparently to signal its location, one on the Great Lawn and one near the Student Centre (that's the former Infirmary for you olde Reedies), but these proved to be decoys. Students thronged Winch in search of the feathered totem, when a call arose: "Why is everybody over here? The Owl's at Bragdon!"

Dashing across the Blue Bridge, the students finally found the object of their desire lying on the grass outside Bragdon Hall, covered in gold paint, mud, and barbed wire.

Then ensued a fierce struggle, akin to the Battle of Marathon, where not only physical strength but strategy and cunning were employed to capture the Owl. Reedies asked their friends to hold back the crowd or pin down adversaries so that they could at least take a photo or two documenting their timê in being near the idol. Attempts were made from all directions to carry off the mascot, or failing that, to sit on it, or simply just to touch it. The whole lawn around Bragdon had been hosed down and became slick with icy mud. Occasional fights broke out on the fringes between what Gary Granger, director of community safety, described as "overenthusiastic" students, but only four injuries were recorded (thankfully, no medical transport was necessary.

After a night-long scrimmage, one faction--made up of several members of the Frisbee team and Chittick dorm--managed to wrestle the Owl into a silver mid-2000′s Honda CRV. According to the Quest, a high-speed chase ensued, in which the Honda, pursued by several other vehicles, carried the Owl towards Mount Hood. The pursuers eventually broke off the race at around 2 a.m. when the road became too icy for them to continue. Thus the Owl remains in possession of its new owners--for now.

In the words of Granger, "the Owl abides."

(If you'd like to check out the gory details of last year's battle, see "Feathered Frenzy" in the September 2010 issue, http://www.reed.edu/reed_magazine/september2010/columns/apocrypha/index.html)