Written by Langston Varnadore, Masterman High School (OU 2009)
Today we went “white water” rafting on the Chattahoochee River. We were under the impression that it would be some sort of white water, but it turned out to be a slow moving river that was loaded with seaweed. We split up into two groups and got onto separate rafts. Due to the competitive nature of everyone in each group, we decided that it would be a head-to-head raft race. The other team got off to a fairly good start, but our team had cohesive personalities which kept conflict to a minimum. The personality of your raft mates was the most important part of the excursion because that turned out to be the most important difference between the groups. My group had a lot of cool, calm, and collected personalities; including myself. The other group had all the louder, more opinionated, and uber competitive people. Due to their constant power struggle they ended up losing. During one point when my team had a massive lead we were discovered by a duck that just started to follow us. The duck was really cute so we named him Henry. He would circle our boat while we were going really slowly. Once the other boat caught up to us he betrayed our friendship and went to the dark side.
Due to our strenuous pace and the obscene length of the trip (4:30 hours), we docked on a mini beach with some other people and took a breather. After we got our strength back my team pulled it all together and went hard for the finish and secured a last minute win!!!!! Oh the feel of sweet success!!!
Written by Dan Laurence, Central High School (OU 2009)
As my friend Langston mentioned, our team dominated the rowing race. But I’d like to detail that “breather” we took. We swam across from the mini beach, fighting the river, towards a precipice roughly eight meters high or so. There were only four of us, however, because mostly everyone stayed back and rested. Firstly Tali jumped, followed just seconds later by Chelsea. Craig, who has a fear of heights hesitated for a moment. The gentlemen next to us gave him encouraging words and eventually he braved the fall. Finally, it was my turn. Generally I’m fine with heights, but waiting five minutes almost thirty feet in the air starts to get in to one’s head. I decided to finally jump, and spent more time flying through the air than a pastor spends in church, or so it seemed. When I got to the bottom Craig informed me his injured knee combined with cold locked joints and regular exhaustion prevented him from having the energy to fight the river to get back. So I swam the roughly seventy to ninety feet back to the other side, got a life jacket and swam back and gave it to him, our friend Amanda decided to join me for the swim. It proved not to be enough, his exhaustion seemed to outweigh the capacity of the float, and so Amanda and I hollered to the people nearest us with legitimate floats. They responded immediately. Amanda, one of the two gentlemen and I dragged Craig and the second gentlemen back to the mini beach side of the river. I then noticed it was the two gentlemen who offered encouraging words on the cliff. Exhausted we thanked them over and over again. The help and kindness of the Alabamians was invaluable, and seemed to support our OU mission. Two southern gentlemen helped a Black and a Jew firstly with words and then with life saving action, without thinking twice. This seems to be evidence of sure advancement as far as racial equality goes. This world may not be perfect, but it seems to definitely be heading in the right direction.