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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

UMass Boston’s latest sport promises suffering for all

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Bobby Beacon rides a chariot. Illustration by Bianca Oppedisano (She/Her) / Mass Media Staff.

You all know that this university is for the times. That is not up for debate. However, which times are we talking about?
“They knew what they were doing in ancient Rome,” said Chancellor Marcelo Suárez-Orozco. “It’s why they grew to be as big as they were. Too big to fail! So, I think it’s about time we followed their example.” With these words…it began.
It was the final day of construction on the quad and the workers were ecstatic that they would soon see the outcome of their hard work. However, just as they started to see a ray of hope rising in the distance, they were taken aside and told about a slight change of plans. UMass Boston shouldn’t look like any other modern, well-built university. It was time to get ancient.
“We’re talking colosseums. We’re talking togas. We’re talking bread and circuses,” said the Chancellor. “But most of all…we’re talking chariot races.” For those who’ve never been graced by this sport of sheer brutality, chariot racing consists of about five competitors. Each of them in a chariot pulled by two or more horses racing to be the first to complete seven laps. These “vehicles” are extremely breakable and the sport is considered extremely dangerous. So, why would the university do this?
“I feel that kids these days are just too high strung. They’re always saying things like ‘Why aren’t you funding Africana Studies’ or ‘I can’t afford anything because your prices are too high!’” The Chancellor grew especially angry at recalling this. “Now, they’re going to be saying ‘Help! My friend just flipped over 47 times after a chariot ran into him.’ It’s really going to get people’s priorities straight.”
After being told that a full-scale colosseum would take about four decades to build, university officials decided to continue with the chariot races on the land it already had. Namely, the Harbor Walk. Was it an ideal, or even tolerable place to hold a chariot race? No. But it was there.
Next, it was time to find contestants. But who would sign up? After all, it was certain death. If you weren’t knocked off the horse, pushed into the water, or hit by another chariot, then you were sure to be left with a sore behind after all that bouncing. “That ain’t going to be a problem for me,” said Bobby Beacon as he scribbled his name on the sign-up sheet.
As it turned out, no one else joined their names with his. Due to this, desperate measures were taken. Students who were failing their classes were given a choice. Take the “F” or ride in the race. Most students were perfectly content with failing; however, a few desperate cases decided to take their chances.
“My parents would do worse to me than this chariot race ever could. They’ve been dying to send me to clown school since I could crawl,” said Nate, a UMass Boston student. “But I ain’t putting on that rubber nose. You hear me, Ma? You hear me, Pa?” He screamed into the air before gently sobbing. He wiped his tears onto his mandated toga.
After four racers had signed up, there was one more spot left to fill. With time winding down, it was decided that the contestant would be determined by a draft pick. “If history tells us anything about young people,” said the Chancellor, “it’s that they like a good, old-fashioned, luck-of-the-draw draft.” The unlucky student, Vanessa Gonzales, tried to flee the state upon hearing the news. However, when the day of the race came, she was there along with everyone else, even if she had to be tied to her chariot.
And then, just like that, they were off. Each chariot was carried along by horses as swift as the wind, with a determination harder than steel. If only the same could be said for the racers. They were terrified. Nate could be heard screaming, “I wish I learned how to ride a chariot!” Vanessa was seen covering her eyes, letting her horses drive her into the ocean. Bobby was the only one who seemed in his element.
“It wasn’t so much about being the first to the finish line,” Bobby told us after the race was over. “It was more about getting rid of the other guys so that I was the only one there.” Next to him stood the remains of his unlucky competitors’ chariots, each lit by flashing ambulance lights. After accepting his trophy, Bobby rode his chariot away into the sunset. Of course, there were police cars chasing him, but that’s nothing new for the famed beacon.

About the Contributor
Kyle Makkas, Humor Writer