TCNJ Magazine - Spring 2016

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What traditions were popular when you were a student? We enjoyed all the stories readers submitted about beloved and memorable antics, but this tale of the softball team's Scarlet Letter-like rubber chicken was our favorite by far. Helen the Chicken. Former softball Coach June Walker required any player who made a mistake—on or off the field— to carry a rubber chicken around. We nicknamed the chicken Helen, and the offending player had to take her everywhere until someone else messed up or did something stupid (say, for example, bleaching Coach's colored clothes on the team's spring break trip). A new chicken was purchased each year, and at the end of the season, we held a ceremony during which we buried that year's worn-out Helen behind the outfield fence. Countless All-Americans carried Helen, and the tradition continued until Coach Walker's retirement. When the old softball field was cleared to make room for a parking lot, a few of us went to rescue all of the Helens. We couldn't find even one! —ROBIN PAYNE '83 UP FRONT WANT TO PLAY ALONG? Check out page 5 to see the question for the next issue, then send your story to

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