Bigger or Better is the ultimate competitive game for youth groups and freshman orientation weekends around the nation.
Typically, teams start the game with a small item such as a penny or paperclip, and are challenged to trade for items that are either bigger or better.
Teams run or drive around town, knock on doors and hope that people have unwanted treasures lying around that can be traded out for the last item the team picked up.
Hopes are high at the start. Teams dream of bringing back a futon, or even a car. As the game wanes on, however, players wonder if they’ll return with anything better than the throw pillow full of cat hair they’re currently lugging around.
In the end, teams run breathless back to the meeting place to find out if the item they ended with is bigger or better than what other teams have.
On Monday night I played my own game of Bigger or Better along with my friend, Kaitlin Floerchinger. We had 75 minutes to return to my plex with something awesome.
We had no competition, so our driving motivation was the chance at fame and glory from the beloved Beacon readers if we returned with a true prize.
At 6:45 p.m., we left my plex with a penny. Our first stop was the white cottage by the North Suites. The women willingly sacrificed a bundle of glow stick bracelets.
Then we knocked on the door of North Suites Resident Director Kendall Stanislav. Kendall and Mady, the oldest child in the family, led us to the playroom. Although Kaitlin and I both took NW’s marketing class, Professor Brandon Woudstra never could have prepared us to negotiate with Mady. The 6-year-old was not ready to give up any of her toys, and she madly defended her brothers’ possessions, as well.
We couldn’t strike a trade with Mady of the glow sticks for a Ferbie, so Ashley offered us a giant box of Kirkland Ancient Grains crackers. We took our noticeably “bigger” item to Apartment B.
At 7:01 p.m., Brittany Caffey welcomed us into her apartment. Caffey was unsure what to trade for, but determined to send us away with something. We couldn’t accept her generous offers of an umbrella, guitar or fresh box of Pizza Ranch pizza, but we did leave with a nice tarp. Caffey was excited to share her new crackers during an upcoming meeting hosted in her apartment.
At 7:09 p.m. we journeyed across campus to Ryan and Alyssum Anderson’s apartment in Fern. Alyssum tried her best to get rid of a rotting jack-o-lantern, and Kaitlin and I tried our best to trade the tarp for Ryan and Alyssum’s guest, Hannah McBride. We compromised with a 20-pound mirror the newlyweds picked up for free at a glass junkyard.
While making the trade, Alyssum bitterly recalled a past experience with Bigger or Better. One year, Fern played the game as a dorm activity. One group returned with a piano and subtly placed it in the Fern lobby. The piano sat in the lobby for years despite Alyssum’s pleas for it to find a new home. Today, the piano sits in the upstairs of the Old Factory Coffee Shop.
At 7:20 p.m., Kaitlin and I began our 0 for 6 run, all while carrying the 20-pound mirror. The welcoming environment of the Old Factory gave us high hopes, but we were turned away. Casa Azul, home of NW student Phil Hilla and alumni Aaron DeBoer and Jerry Lansink, offered us a couch, but unfortunately my small Mazda was incapable of bearing such a load.
We faced rejection on three more doorsteps, and then drove across town to the house of NW alumni Michael Simmelink, Jason Katsma, Micah Czirr, Matt Latchaw and Tyler Janssen. Once again, we walked away with the mirror.
“We just don’t have stuff,” Simmelink said. Althoughunderstandable, this was disappointing for Kaitlin and I. The time approached 7:50 p.m. We needed a miracle.
We followed our NW noses to President Greg Christy’s house. The family was home, and in a flurry began searching for a suitable trade. At 7:56 p.m. we drove away with our miracle and left the mirror behind.
Amongst the scurrying, laughter and shouting throughout the house emerged an autographed photo portrait of a pre-NW Christy. The headshot is autographed by President Christy, and while not “bigger,” is arguably the most “better” prize an NW student could return with.