Flushing good time at Toilet Bowl game
DINFOS service members, faculty compete in annual event
By Brandon Bieltz
The Air/Land team, made up of Airmen and Soldier instructors at DINFOS, defeated Sea Services 13-7 in the Toilet Bowl on Friday. Members of the Sea Services were still able to balance out the bowl by winning the student game 19-14.
The annual event, held at Mullins Field, also featured halftime events including a mummy race, pie-in-the-face contest and food.
"We talk the Toilet Bowl up for almost three months," said Staff Sgt. Anthony Nelson Jr., a basic still photography instructor. "It's a real big deal. It's almost like a mini Super Bowl."
The Toilet Bowl started as a fall family picnic for faculty and students 33 years ago when DINFOS was located at Benjamin Harrison, Ind., and evolved into a heated rivalry between the faculty members and the students.
Trash talk between the teams began about a month ago when the school held a bake sale to determine who had home field advantage. Talk continued to escalate until Friday's games.
"Everybody is just trying to get the upper hand on each other," said Sgt. 1st Class Brian Lehnhardt, a basic still photography instructor. "It just goes to show you how serious these folks take this."
Festivities kicked off with the coin toss conducted by the master of ceremonies, "King John." According to tradition, King John is the ruler of the Kingdom of the Porta Potty and only leaves his palace once a year for the pregame ceremonial toss. Since 2004, DINFOS provost Mike Gannon has worn the red velvet robe and crown as he walks to midfield with a plunger in hand.
"I really enjoy it," he said. "It's fun."
Having attended the event for nine years, Gannon knows the team's records and what's at stake for both faculty and students.
"It's a lot of trash talk," he said of the rivalries. "This year, the Sea Services have won three in a row. Those land guys aren't going to take this easy."
Heading into this year's Toilet Bowl, Sea Services was riding a three-year win streak. Last year's faculty game ended in controversy when an Air/Land receiver thought he had scored a game-winning touchdown as time expired. However, the referee called him down at the 1-yard line -- giving Sea Services the 8-6 win.
This year's Toilet Bowl started out as a defensive battle as both teams were held scoreless heading into halftime, but Nelson's two second-half touchdowns carried Air/Land to the 13-7 victory.
"It feels great," Nelson said of the win. "They're going to hear it for a year. I'll be back next year, so we're going to do the same thing. Last year was a fluke, and it feels great to break their streak -- something good to start off my weekend."
The students played their game later in the afternoon. Last year, the Air/Land team won 34-28 in overtime, but this year Sea Services secured a 19-14 win. Sea Services quarterback Seaman Apprentice Clay Iliff threw for a pair of touchdowns and ran one in himself.
"I got a lot of help from my linemen on those passes," he said. "And I wouldn't be able to do anything without my running back."
The students' win helped Sea Services hold onto one of its bragging rights this year.
"The faculty can talk as much as they want, but the students can't say anything now," Iliff said.
In between the games, DINFOS and USO-Metro sponsored a lunch of hot dogs, hamburgers and wings. During the hour intermission, students also participated in a mummy race and a bidding war to throw pies in the face of a faculty member.
For the mummy race, teams of three wrapped four rolls of toilet paper around a runner. Once all the paper was draped on the service member, the runner then sprinted across the football field. Whoever made it to the end of the field the fastest, with the least amount of toilet paper falling off, won the race.
In the background to the race and lunch, students bid on which faculty members would take a pie to the face. The most popular bid was 1st Sgt. Marlon Green. Eventually $460.50 was raised to pie Green. The money will be put in a fund for future DINFOS events.
"It's pretty good," Green said. "Soldiers have fun -- it's building a little morale."
Despite taking three pies in the face, Green said the Toilet Bowl is a good way for service members to unwind from classes and the daily tasks of the military.
"We have some high standards and work them hard and long, so to give them a chance to come out and relax and be human, we gotta do it," he said. "This is a great opportunity for them."
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May 18, 2013
Col. Edward C. Rothstein
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