Widgets Magazine

Bidding pride adieu

Athletes sing, dance and strip down for charity

(CHRIS HOLVE/The Stanford Daily)

“Five, Six, Seven, Eight!” yelled a girl to her teammate, who went shooting into the air. The cheer squad, a mass of red t-shirts and white hair ribbons, was practicing a routine they had run through at least a thousand times in the last month in preparation for Nationals — but, more immediately, for the Athlete Date Auction.

The cheerleader fell with a small thud into the arms of several teammates, and the squad skipped off-stage and into the crowd as students filed into Cubberly Auditorium Tuesday night.

A picture of the women’s lacrosse team flashed on the screen in front, signaling the beginning of the evening’s festivities. It was Date Auction time.

The annual Athlete Date Auction featured 23 varsity and club teams who danced, pranced and showed more than a little skin on stage to encourage bidding from the audience.

The funds raised by the date auction benefit Camp Kesem, a Stanford student-run summer camp provided free of charge to children whose parents suffer from cancer. This year’s goal was to improve upon last year’s fundraising and make an unprecedented $5,000 — all in roughly three hours.

“We’ve started raising a lot more money over the years,” said coordinator Corinne Smith ‘11, who planned Date Auction from behind the scenes. “There was a lot more participation from different teams, and we’re also trying to get people outside of the athletic department. Increasing involvement has been important in raising the money.”

Cardinal Council, a group of athletes on campus that promotes student welfare, hosted the event. Smith said the date auction “is a way for athletes to get involved in community service.”

“This is an awful lot of spandex,” one attendee whispered to a friend as the event kicked off.

Teams sat together and planned their bids for the evening, encouraging girls to raise their hands for male athletes, many of whom took their shirts off. Indeed, removing clothes seemed to be a winning strategy in encouraging audience members to bid. To encourage larger contributions, co-host Austin Quarles ‘11 even promised “a kiss from Andrew Luck” following a serenade by one of the football players.

Routines ranged from the men’s golf team telling dirty jokes about Tiger Woods to both gymnastics teams performing stunts on stage — and at least three teams sang along to 90s hit “Bye Bye Bye.”

The charity event did experience a brief somber note after the ninth act when Quarles reminded the audience that the goal of $5,000 was not close to being reached.

Following Quarles’ exclamation that “we’re gonna make it rain up in here!” a football signed by coach Jim Harbaugh and two sideline football tickets sold for $550, the highest bid up to this point.

Entire teams were also up for grabs, and their prizes included laser tagging dates and pool parties. Many of the purchases seemed to be made by athletes on other teams, while acts consisted mostly of freshmen athletes performing pelvic thrusts and girls doing renditions of the “stanky leg.”

Bids began at $50. In a record-breaking bid, the men’s rowing team raised $600 following a choreographed dance and channeling of Napoleon Dynamite onstage. Co-host Kelly Hill ‘11, a redshirt sophomore on the women’s rowing team, contributed $87 to make up the difference and meet the $5000 goal.

“I’m super stoked,” Hill said. “We raised $2000 last year and this year really pushed the limits. The venue was packed, and we raised [the] goal, which was absurd.

“What this does for Camp Kesem is awesome,” she added.

All of the money raised is distributed throughout different programs for the camp.

“It’s a high goal and a lot to expect, and I was nervous we weren’t going to get it, but right at the end we pulled through,” Smith said.

Cheerleader Julia Wycliff ‘12 said that while the atmosphere surrounding the Date Auction is typically a fun one, it was still “scary to perform.”

“It was a lot of fun, though, and I’m glad we got to help out Camp Kesem,” she said. “I’d say the general atmosphere is pretty goofy, and it was kind of fun to see a bunch of athletes let loose and dance around.”

“Plus, the soccer team took their shirts off . . . definitely the best moment of the night,” Wycliff added.