Friday, February 25, 2005

A follow-up on THON ...

A reader named Steve commented that he was unable to get into PSU's Rec Hall to actually see the dancers last weekend. This appears to have been on top of the traditional lock-down of the building the organizers authorize (I think it still works this way) so that there isn't a crush of people into the hall at the last minute to watch the final moments.

THON, while raising a lot of money for a great cause, has often had its critics, me included. Most of the complaints fall under the following category: Unhealthy or questionable means for a worthwhile end.

Chiefly in my mind: Is it really necessary to "dance"/stay up for 48 hours? Why not 40? Or 30, even? I doubt the amount of money would be affected at all. It's not like people are donating by how many hours you can actually stay up. While this may be the scheme in other dance marathons, THON has developed over the years and now the assumption is that all 700+ dancers will be able to make it -- come sleep-deprived hallucinations and weeping bouts -- through all 48. Obviously, it's humanly possible, and it adds to the whole idea of joining in the suffering that kids with cancer must endure, but it really disrupts a good deal of the dancers' lives. If the event weren't so long, the physical prep time (in terms of actually getting ready for the event -- not the fundraising, etc.) and the physical recovery time would be shorter, I'd imagine. Never having danced, I don't know for sure.

But it's an idea that a lot of people have suggested, only to be shot down by this assumption that it's FOR THE KIDS and thus all-means-necessary are A-OK. It's at that point we need to step back and remember: More than one road can lead to the same goal.

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