Outside of the student-athlete community, Feb. 17 might seem like a normal Monday. For many athletic teams, however, that day is no regular sporting event but rather the culmination of intense anticipation and preparation—the Athlete Date Auction.
Cardinal Council, the student-athlete representative body, organizes the Athlete Date Auction every year. During the event, different teams perform a dance and audience members bid to go on whatever “date” that team offers based on their performance.
Funds raised have traditionally gone to Camp Kesem, a weeklong summer camp for children whose parents currently have or have passed away due to cancer.
In past years, the auction has brought in up to $4,000. The goal this year is to raise over $5,000, according to women’s swim team member Katie Olsen ’15, a social chair for the Cardinal Council and one of the main organizers of the auction.
In the past, Camp Kesem has not taken an active part in the event. This year’s programming, however, will feature a speech by a Camp Kesem representative in an effort to generate more enthusiasm for the auction.
“We are trying to make charity the main attraction of the event this year and raise more money for the camp,” Olsen said.
While the event is ostensibly for charity, the main attraction has historically been the dances themselves. In fact, Bridget Boushka ’17, a member of the women’s swim team, said that one of the things that she had looked forward to as a recruit was the date auction.
“For swim team it’s a pretty big deal. We take it pretty seriously,” Boushka said. “We need to keep up our reputation.”
Freshmen student-athletes typically choreograph the dance. In fact, on most teams, the dance is a surprise for the upperclassmen, adding another layer of pressure for the freshmen.
“In the past we’ve had a history of really good performances so there’s tons of pressure to make it good,” said Max Williamson ’17, a member of the men’s swim team. “We’re all really excited about it. Our freshman class is really outgoing so it will be fun to go onstage and do something a little crazy.”
“The freshman on the volleyball team have been preparing for a while and it should be pretty entertaining,” said Eric Mochalski ’15, a member of the men’s volleyball team.
This year, different teams have been able to create their own date packages for the winning bidders. Some of the packages include a Disney princess movie marathon with the men’s fencing team, frozen yogurt with the women’s synchronized sailing team, a sunset cruise with the freshman sailing team and brunch with the field hockey team.
Jenny Claypool, the Cardinal Council liaison from the Athletics Department, noted that the Date Auction is an opportunity to see the student athletes in a different light.
“It’s fun to see their personalities showing through in their performances and it’s a great way to support a good cause,” Claypool said.
Contact Michaela Elias at melias23 ‘at’ stanford ‘dot’ edu.