For 46 years students have enjoyed the many amusements of the Wilkinson Center.
By Ryan T. Stokes (BS ’02), Snoqualmie, Wash.
It was 1996, my freshman year, and I was living in Helaman Halls. There was a particular girl from our ward whom I really wanted to ask out, but she had a boyfriend back home. So I disguised the date by recruiting a number of the guys on my floor to ask out all of her roommates. Without cars or much money, we had to be creative. We decided to take the girls to the Wilk to go bowling, with a twist. We paired up and used plastic wrap to connect one of each of our legs together for three-legged bowling. The girl would bowl the first ball and the guy would bowl the second. It made for a great date—the guys were bowling left-handed, so the girls were generally far better than we were. And there was endless comedy as we awkwardly waddled around and struggled to throw the ball at the pins. But the best part was being literally stuck to our dates and conveniently able to put our arms around each other to stay balanced.
The great night created a lasting friendship among the whole group. I don’t remember which pair won the game, but my bowling buddy and Ieventually married, as did two other pairs from that night. I’d say that’s as close to bowling a perfect game as we’ll ever get.
“Utes” Invade the Wilk
By Ryan E. Tibbitts (BS ’81), Park City, Utah
During the fall of 1980 I was enrolled in organizational behavior 321. One assignment was a group project on conflict. Late in the semester, when my group was getting desperate, I had an idea. It was football season and the BYU-Utah rivalry game was approaching—a perfect opportunity to study conflict.
We decided to set up a BYU Students for the U of U booth near the Wilkinson Center, where students would pass by during the lunch hour. Wearing the dreaded red and white, group members would appear as Ute fans, hand out Utah football posters, and shout support for the Utes. Because I was a bench-dwelling member of the 1980 BYU football team, I thought someone might recognize me and expose our scam, so I was to stand off to the side snapping photographs.
We staged our event the Friday before the game as shocked students headed into the Wilk for their Navajo tacos. Within minutes the entrance to the Wilk looked a little like the 1968 Democratic Convention. BYU students were enraged by the blasphemy echoing from the ramparts of the Wilk. The screaming escalated out of control. After only 15 minutes, officers arrived and told us to get out of Dodge—but they could not control their laughter as they escorted us away. No problem—by then we had pictures and 15 minutes of audio.
A week or two later, we presented a slide and audio show to our class, set up by the Beach Boys song Be True to Your School. The professor and class loved it. The Wilk came through it all undefiled, and, oh yeah, we beat the Utes 56–6.
Praying for a Partner
By Kathleen Butler Barlow (BA ’93), Milford, N.H.
As a freshman I took a social dance class, which proved to be a fun and informative, though sometimes nerve-wracking, experience for me. I was too shy to ask boys to dance, so I relied on them to ask me. When it came time for the final exam, we had to find someone to practice with and then perform together for the instructors. Lots of students in the class had already paired up, and I worried about finding a partner. I decided to make it a matter of prayer. Not many days later, I was walking through the Wilk and saw a boy from my ward. He was taking a social dance class that semester as well and told me, quite out of the blue, that if I ever needed a dance partner, he would be happy to oblige. This was the first time I remember feeling like the Lord had answered a very specific prayer of mine. It made me realize that the Lord knows us so well and wants to help us in our times of need, however insignificant they may seem in the grand scheme of things.
By Jandy Purnell Barry (BS ’99), Springville, Utah
Midnight showings of movies at the Varsity Theatre were somewhat like attending a melodrama performance. The audience cheered for the good guys and booed at the bad guys. I remember one midnight showing best. At one point in the movie, the audience was extremely tense as the central character was faced with a moral dilemma. Just as it appeared that he was about to give in to temptation, there was a yell from the back of the theater: Don’t do it! Instantly, the character turned from his intent and the entire audience erupted into applause and cheers. It was one of those moments that made me remember why I loved attending BYU. Seriously, where else could you find a theater packed with young adults wholeheartedly applauding someone for choosing the right?
Follow the Leader?
By Cristie Atherton Gardner (BA ’73), Westlake, Ohio
Our social dance instructor taught the women to trust the men’s ability to lead by having us stand rigid, all muscles taut, arms fixed to our side. He then placed men at equal distances in front of and behind each woman, instructing them to rock the girls forward and backward by pushing our shoulders. I really got into the experience, thinking how cool it was to be so trusting and to have two handsome young men so involved in my well-being.
However, my enjoyment was short-lived. The young man behind me became interested in another young woman and turned to talk to her—just as the young man in front of me sent me rocking backward. Descending in blissful trust, I realized suddenly that I was going into a deeper dip than I had before. I managed a slight extension of the arms and mostly bruised just my ego in the fall. I’m not sure that the derelict young man ever fully realized what he had done! And from then on, my trust in a man’s ability to lead while dancing had to be earned by the young man in question.
By Bradley B. Anderson (BA ’73), Sparks, Nev.
My fiancée and I were walking across campus one afternoon when we decided to step into the Wilkinson Center for an ice cream cone. We did not have classes that day, so we were dressed casually—I was wearing slacks, and she was in jeans. We thought nothing of it until we noticed that the Varsity Theatre was showing a film that we were both eager to see. The problem was that in those days the men could wear jeans to class and campus events, but they were not considered appropriate for women. We were able to purchase the tickets but were denied entry because of the offending jeans.
The movie was scheduled to start in five minutes, and we were far from her apartment. There was only one thing to do. We wore approximately the same pants size, so we hurried off to the restrooms. I went into the men’s room and handed my slacks out the door, which was ajar just enough for her to retrieve them. I waited for a minute until I saw her hand slide through the door with her jeans. I slipped on the jeans, and we ran to the Varsity Theater. We handed our tickets to a very surprised young man, who had just turned us away, and found seats just in time for the movie.