By: Simon Kwilinski
Midway down an unassuming hallway in McInnis, a group of students sit hard at work in Eastern’s math department. Entrenched in number theory proofs, debugging Java programs and studying for exams, these students are lost in their own intellectual haven.
But one student, setting aside his laptop and scrolling through his Instagram feed, suddenly found himself on an arm wrestling page. Awestruck by brute strength and testosterone, he abandoned his programming and set out on a mission: to become the best arm wrestler in the whole math department.
His name: Owen Burt. Though only an ordinary computer scientist, Burt was so inspired by the thought of arm wrestling that he began watching video after video, studying technique with the sort of precision one can only expect from a true computer programmer. Though he was admittedly more gifted in his mental acuity and academic pursuits than pure physical strength, Burt was determined not to let this hinder him in the slightest.
Like David preparing for Goliath, he saw his physical limitations not as a hindrance, but rather as an opportunity. He began his strict training regimen with a series of arm wrestling matches in the math department. Since the other students were hardly a physical challenge at all—and certainly not as determined as Burt himself—he quickly became the top arm wrestler amongst math, computer science and data science majors alike. None of the programmers, mathematicians or engineers could stand up to Burt’s sheer desire to win.
With his skill growing, many students were too impressed to try arm wrestling him. “I’ve only heard rumors, but I’m terrified,” Abby Laird, a freshman math major, said.
His climb to glory was swift and long-lived in the department. Short on opponents, he resorted to helping students do their homework if they could only beat him at an arm wrestling match. Yet even with this academic incentive, in a few short weeks, one thing was clear to everyone: if Burt were to be truly challenged, it would need to come from someone else at Eastern—someone with more muscle than a bunch of feeble-armed, glasses-wearing, pale-skinned coders.
But Burt did not let this impediment deter him. He reached out to the Waltonian, asking that we publish this article: his official challenge to the whole of the Eastern University community.
“No one can beat me,” Burt said. If you think you’ve got more muscle than an undefeated computer scientist, then prove it. Come to the math and computer science department (McInnis 216) from 10–11 a.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, or from 9–10 a.m. on Tuesdays, and ask for Burt.
Currently undefeated both in and outside the department, Burt seeks to disprove the stereotype that mathematicians and programmers are nerds with arms thinner than the average pencil.
His challenge is supported by many students in the department. “I think it supports morale,” Greta, junior math major, said. Another anonymous student voiced a more philosophical position: “It’s great for the students in the department: it encourages them to get off their screens and start using their bodies. It reminds us of the holistic nature of man. When it’s all done, I hope that the culture will be full of buff coders.”
Not everyone supports the endeavor, however. “It reeks of testosterone,” one anonymous source told the Waltonian.
Others have questioned his “undefeated” status and called for stronger opponents.
“Let’s start with ‘he defeated everyone in the department.’ The bar is low,” Dr. Walt Huddell said.
“I arm wrestled him (and he won), and now he needs to be humbled,” Professor Amy Huddell, program director of the computer science department, said.
Still, the consensus is clear: his reign must be challenged. “I’ll take anyone,” Burt said. If you or anyone you know are skilled at arm wrestling, please come to the McInnis math department (room 216) to teach Owen Burt what it means to arm wrestle.