Quixotic Clubs: My Inner Child Wants Your Inner Child to Read This

Half of what makes or breaks a campus is the people. As my friends at Campus Tours told me, all you need to start a club here are three friends, a constitution, $40 … and a dream With the wide array of quirky clubs UC Irvine students have used this rule to create, three in particular stand out.

Some people here on campus dream of holding on to their childhood, and I can dig that. Don’t lie to me now. You know that before the time when you woke up extra early to put your face on and try on a couple of outfits (stripes or polka dots?), before you realized that you wanted to kiss girls, not “circle, circle, dot, dot, now I got my cootie shot” yourself, you had an imagination. You held on to the thought, if only for a little while, that maybe you could conquer all with your scepter made of Lego’s, or your Skip-It of doom.

Sword at UCI still believes in the notion that most of us have since left so far behind, and it embraces the nerdiness that make most cringe. But in this day and age, we can stand to take our high and mighty attitudes down a notch and revert back to our childhoods once in a while because after all, who was more free and infinite than our younger selves?

Its 65 members strongly believe in embracing the inner child, according to the club’s president and field commander, Adrian Ortiz. If it ups the cool-factor a little bit for you, think of Sword as a medieval sort of “Fight Club,” just in Aldrich Park instead of underground, with any variety of foam weapons instead of fists and minus all that blood. They also have tournaments involving One-on-One Sword and Shield Tournament, Anything Goes, Spears, Archery, and Team in battle settings such as Capture the Flag, Last Man Standing, Aztec Football and more.

“Twilight”/”New Moon” fans should get a load of what Sword has planned for April.

“This April, we’re also going to have a werewolf treasure hunt battle, one which lasts two to three hours where a group of fighters search UCI’s campus for clues to finding a Silver Dagger to defeat the werewolves,” Ortiz said.

Or hug them, but only if it is midterms or finals week and only if you’re holding a “Free Hugs” sign. Ever wonder what those kids in front of the Student Center are doing, and if those “free hugs” are in fact not free, but a trick designed to steal your soul? OK, we all know that it’s not it, so what is the harm in giving a free hug?

The club that runs this event, One Million Ways, gives you a Superman-like way (faster than a speeding bullet!) to help the world within a couple of seconds on your way to class. Every good deed you log onto their Web site — this opportunity to partake in free hugs and share the love included — represents a dollar directly donated to one of the organizations they support, and they are gunning for at least a million. So why don’t you embrace that, and the next person you see offering you one. They’re not radioactive, I swear.

As for my final club, we’ll need to quickly do a bit of math.

If you’re about my age, and the Harry Potter series came out in 1997, you were about nine years old at the dawn of pretty much a new era in young adult fiction. Show of hands, how many of you seriously thought or had a glimmer of hope that the day you turned 10, you would get a letter (via owl!) freeing you from your muggle parents and sending you to Platform 3 3/4 and on to Hogwarts?

Don’t worry, my hand’s up too. I really thought I could be the “Asian one” until Cho Chang showed up. But if you always wondered if you would be a Gryffindor, Slytherin, Ravenclaw, or Hufflepuff, UCI students just recently created a place where you can belong, you poor muggle, you.

Dumbledore’s Anteaters had their first meeting last Thursday at the big tree in Aldrich Park — what they’re calling the Whomping Willow — and with a system of governing that completely mimics Hogwarts, you’ll be seeing kids running around on brooms for Quidditch matches in no time.

The entire concept is easy to get hooked on; if you like Harry Potter at all, you will love Dumbledore’s Anteaters.

These UCI clubs offer something completely radical, something that while you might externally scoff at, hits a soft spot inside you somewhere … maybe the same soft spot when you played with your Barbies, or when you believed you were the Red Power Ranger.

Come on, we were all kids at one time, and back then, we weren’t too cool for anything. We didn’t even know what cool was.

But if you’re not into violence, physical contact or magic wands, grab a couple of buddies, chip in some bucks, jot a few words down onto a piece of paper and show UCI what you ARE into. Done deal, you’re golden and you’ve helped to make UCI that much more intriguing.