Last week an anonymous whistleblower reached out to the Campus Times with shocking footage of a fight between two groundhogs (or groundbois) — UR’s beloved unofficial mascot — in a miniature boxing ring, with several grounds crew members cheering in the background.
The whistleblower told CT that during the summer of 2020, the UR Grounds crew had a lot of extra time on their hands, and thus decided to explore the many groundhog tunnels via a remote controlled car with a GoPro attached. They discovered an intricate series of tunnels filled with more groundhogs (Marmota monax, for the nerds out there) than they ever expected. Grounds crew members became fascinated with the lives of these secretive creatures during that summer where COVID-19 was supposed to disappear, even going so far as to partner with some of the ecology professors to learn how to communicate rudimentarily with their new friends. Quarantine did weird things to people.
The crew noticed that the groundhogs were very aggressive when fighting for dominance over their territory on campus. So, what better way to settle these territorial disputes than through an organized fighting ring? Grounds crew members crafted a groundhog-size appropriate boxing ring for the furry rascals, and invited them to Fauver Stadium to settle the issues among this rowdy generation of groundhogs. Bets were placed among the humans, with some risking their entire stimulus check. Brackets were drafted, as the basketball fans who had been denied their annual March Madness got hyped up for the potential to blame their losses on something other than the pandemic.
The groundhogs didn’t hold back: All were vying for the coveted position of the hill behind Sue B. (or as an art major thinks of it: the hill in front of Sage). After many rounds of fighting, the top spot was claimed by Flopsy. The campus was further divided into separate swaths, including Fauver Stadium, Wilson Quad, Eastman Quad, and the land surrounding the Interfaith Chapel. The loser, Professor Schnookums, ended up with the brick and concrete jungle of the Engineering Quad.
CT reached out to UR Grounds for comments and has not received a response. We have, however, received some comments from the groundhogs themselves. According to one professor who has dubbed themselves “the groundhog whisperer,” the majority of the groundhog community is still happy with the results from 2020, but there are whisperings of a groundhog revolution coming from those with less than satisfactory territory. Will there be an all-out war once they all emerge from hibernation?