Staff members from the physical plant and housekeeping staff from around the college have formed a Varsity Janitorial team to enter the 50th annual Maryland state Custodian Olympics held last weekend at the University of Maryland, College Park. The head organizer of the competition reports that “each event is designed to test a professional cleaner’s overall skill, endurance, and most of all, patience.” Our team emerged victorious on top of seven other competing teams including the reigning champions “Mount St. Mary’s Moppers” and the dreaded “Salisbury Scrubbers,” whose families had been in the cleaning industry for generations.
After the teams emerged from the locker rooms with newly stocked supply buckets to stands full of cheering guests, the events started. The St. Mary’s College team, the “Seahawk Sweepers,” went on to set record-breaking performances in a pentathlon that involved a pre-set course of five events: removing overflowed trash bags, tag-team relay sweeping, cleaning out a dorm microwave with a limited supply of wipes, scrubbing skid marks out of a toilet bowl, and wiping off graffiti of genitalia drawn in permanent marker from wooden tables, all as fast as possible. Some of the other scored speed events that the team took the gold in included separating the trash from the recycling accurately, and an obstacle course “Sticky Shoes” that involved navigating a mop bucket through a floor full of spilled soda without stepping in it or wheeling over it.
The all-day event included many festivities for the spectators. There were vendors selling hats designed to look like you were wearing a trash can or dustpan on your head among others, as well as educational pamphlets on how to keep your workplace tidy and such. One visitor commented that “The stadium was very clean; there was no trash left in the stands or on the hallway floors.” It is unclear if this was the case because the venue was swarming with rival custodians trying to outdo each other, or if the spectators felt angry gazes as they were about to discard their empty soda cups on the ground and just decided to clean up their act.
Per tradition, the winning team, our St. Mary’s College of Maryland, was awarded the revered golden-toilet trophy, which looks exactly like what you’re imagining it does. In addition to the trophy, the sponsor Sysco pledged a lifetime supply of paper towel rolls and single ply toilet paper to the winning team, which will help the college to cut down on expenses. The team captain made a speech, how it was “a great honor” and thanking “my team, my supervisor, all our families, and the select few students who wished us good morning when they saw us in the halls instead of running in the opposite direction.”