The 2003 Marsupial Awards

Admittedly, it’s a dumb name. It’s not clever, it’s not sarcastic and through no degree of stretching and twisting of reason does it carry any discernible meaning at Western.

The Herald’s annual rite of spring is named for mammals which lack a placenta but boast external abdominal pouches with teats.

If that’s good enough for us, it’s good enough for you.

But what we call the awards is immaterial. It’s our final opportunity to point the spotlight at Western’s positive newsmakers. And most importantly, it’s another chance to poke fun at the folks who took the “higher education” out of “higher education.”

So off we go. It’s the 2003 Marsupial Awards.

•The Nutcracker Award goes to Tell City, Ind., freshman Jamie Lynn Byrd.

Byrd likely would have earned a Marsupial for her two-DUIs-in-two-days performance. But she locked up the honor with an even more impressive feat – after being stopped the second time, the belligerent Byrd planted a foot in the groin of Bowling Green police officer Craig Sutter.

It was a bold move that definitely required stones.

•Though it had nothing to do with the anthrax scare, this dazed and confused pair helped redefine the term “suspicious package.”

Old Hickory, Tenn., freshman Blake Lovan and Hendersonville, Tenn., sophomore Brandon Anthony James claimed this year’s Cheech and Chong Award when they accepted a five-pound shipment of weed that was mailed to Pearce-Ford Tower.

•Bursting uninvited into an off-campus apartment flashing a shotgun, stun guns and duct tape is a sure-fire way to land on this list.

So congrats to former Louisville freshmen Nicole Hite and Ashley Moore, who, along with two other female comrades, took the Girls Gone Wild Award for their pathetic siege at Western Place in November.

Their punishment? How about eternity watching “Anger Management” on an endless loop.

•From the depths to the pinnacle to the highway.

Former football coach Jack Harbaugh did what sports types often do, calling it a day soon after achieving his ultimate competitive goal.

But Harbaugh’s sudden slip out the side door left him the only worthy recipient of the Houdini Award.

He may have disappeared, but Harbaugh’s memorable resurrection of the football program was no illusion.

•Joining Harbaugh in the exodus of Western’s Athletic Department were basketball coach Dennis Felton and star baller Patrick Sparks.

Felton will give big-time hoops a shot at the Southeastern Conference’s University of Georgia. Meanwhile, Sparks’ roundball career is floating through the ether somewhere. Wherever he lands, he’ll have much work to do to reach the legendary status he flirted with on the Hill.

Here’s hoping the roll of the dice comes up sevens; Felton and Sparks, the winners of the Craps Award.

•Keeping with the “avoiding Western like the plague” theme, the Rev. Al Sharpton picked up the Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow Award.

•Say what you will about Sharpton, but Big Red is Western’s premier hideous blob.

And Big Red garnered some serious street cred during the Sun Belt Conference tournament, receiving a Jamie Byrd-esque boot from Diddle Arena.

Getting tossed from your team’s home arena is a distinction normally reserved for drunken frat boys. Big Red committed such egregious acts as ascending stairs and posing for photos with children.

Big Red’s transgressions may not be as hardcore as those of his fellow banishees, but he wins the Beastie Boys Award anyway. Because you’ve got to fight for your right to party.

•At long last, Nappy Roots came back to its native Western in February.

There’s no place like home, guys. Enjoy the Ruby Slippers Award.

•Over winter break, Northeast Hall flooded. Housing and Residence Life responded brilliantly, saying nothing to returning residents until they returned to campus.

Seriously, what possible explanation is there for not contacting the affected students? HRL dominated the race for the 1-800-CALL-ATT Award. Should a similar situation occur again, we’re installing Carrot Top as the new housing director.

•The Perseverance Award goes to Student Government Association’s Dana Lockhart, who came up short yet again in his most recent bid for an elected SGA office. At least he keeps trying.

•In what is probably the first and last time President Gary Ransdell and Tom Hiles, vice president of Institutional Advancement, will ever be compared to George Clooney and Brad Pitt, we’re giving these two the Ocean’s Eleven Award.

Just like Clooney’s and Pitt’s ultra-cool crooks in the movie, Ransdell and Hiles will shake your hand while he steals your wallet (in a metaphorical sense, of course). But that’s why our capital campaign topped the charts.

•We had to pull hard to yank our minds out of the gutter for this one.

We’re bestowing the, ahem, Broadway Award on “The Vagina Monologues” and “Cry Havoc,” two plays that brought a little culture to the spring semester.

•Athletic Director Wood Selig has handled a stack of contracts in the past few months. Some were for those going, some were for those coming.

In honor of his repeated deal-making, Selig takes the Monty Hall Award.

•Western’s Lori Mitchell grinned her way to the Miss Kentucky title and on to the Miss USA pageant.

Kudos to Mitchell, who used those pearly incisors to snatch the Crest Award right from our hands.

•Finally, a not-so-sad farewell to two of the most annoying folks on campus this semester – the Bomb Threat Guy and the PFT Fire Alarm Puller.

We’re a bit partial to to the Bomb Threat Guy, because we were entertained by the Cherry Hall evacuations from the steps of the Herald office.

That’s not meant to downplay the idiocy of that particular criminal, however. Whoever that person was takes home this year’s final honor, the Ted Kaczynski Award.

That’s all we’ve got, folks. Undoubtedly, we’ve forgotten someone worthy of mention, and for that we apologize. Feel free to use the white space on this page to add in your own Marsupials.

If you’re too lazy to do that, though, and we suspect you are, don’t fret. We’ll be back with more in 2004.

This editorial represents the majority opinion of the Herald’s 10-member board of student editors.