“You’re 21 not 71!!” Read the text my mother sent me as I walked into the UC Ballroom on a Friday night. Yes. I was at Bingo night. Earlier in the evening my roommate said to me “Hey. We’re going to Bingo.” in her own loving way.
“Bingo? Isn’t that for grandmas?” I had never attended a Bingo night before. I had always assumed I’d play when I was old and it came as a last resort. I certainly did not expect to be playing it my first year away at college.
But I had made a commitment to myself to be as involved as possible this semester when it came to school events. So there I was. On a Friday night at 7pm, holding a Bingo card and blotter. Ready for the night that was ahead of me.
Surprisingly, there was a large turnout to the event. I had found by attending previous events that it isn’t often that people show up to Friday night functions. The UC Ballroom was filled with tables, ready for students to it down and play.
Despite the number of tables and chairs that filled the campuses largest gathering room, as students began to pile in there was a lack of chairs. So many students showed up to the event that they began to line the walls of the auditorium, looking for a place to blot their cards.
After sitting down at a table with my roommate, the table quickly filled with familiar faces. “Let me see that Instagram post again.” I said to my roommate, She began to swipe left and show me the pictures of all the prizes that were being given away to the winning students.
Prizes, that I assumed were out of the budget for a Bingo night, were up for grabs. There was a prize table in the center of the room with all of the amazing prizes. The prizes on the Instagram post and sitting on the table included: a drone, a tablet, and even a laptop!
There were also a number of mysterious bags that seemed filled to the brim with prizes. My roommate and I tried to count the number of prizes compared to the number of Bingo cards and it just wasn’t adding up. It seemed that there were more prizes than opportunities to win.
As Bingo caller Tom began to yell out letters and numbers that were the key to winning amazing prizes, the room fell completely silent. Never had I seen so many students in one room being so quiet. Then slowly, as more numbers were being called, people were beginning to respond with their disdain or appreciation for each number called.
People were going crazing with anticipation for the number and letter combination that they needed. I would never had guessed that Bingo could be so thrilling. Each little ball that was selected got a reaction out of the crowd. Students saying things like “That doesn’t help me!!” and other screaming “YESS!” every time they were able to stamp out a square.
After a fair amount of time passed and the jokes of Caller Tom began to get old, you would hear the fateful words.
B I N G O
Everyone in the auditorium would yell in disbelief and anger as one student would pop up out of their chair and run to the front of the auditorium to collect their prize. The auditorium would then erupt with side conversations as the judges deliberate on whether or not it was a legit Bingo call.
Eventually the prize table started to diminish as people would take home their prizes. But with every passing round people became more and more anxious to win the laptop. It was the big prize of the night and everyone wanted it.
If they didn’t need the laptop themselves, then they could sell it and use it for the money. People wanted it and they were ready to mark out their cards for it.
That’s when Tom called out the curveball. Two rounds before the laptop was up for grabs he yelled out. “There are 10 winners for this round, and you already know who you are!” The crowd erupted with concern and excitement that they had won something.
“If you have sparkly sticker on this Bingo card, come up to the stage” It turns out that those mysterious bags were filled with groceries! The event had been partially sponsored by the Dining Commons and they gave 10 bags of free food out to random people who had attended the event.
People were ecstatic with their free food bags and this only made people more excited for the last prize.
I am not sure who the winner of that laptop was, but I do know that lots of students walked away disappointed that night. Many wished that they could be the winner of such an amazing prize, but there were three people who got the final Bingo and ran up at the end. A tie breaker was issued between the three of them, and with much anticipation one lucky student walked away the ultimate winner.
I can honestly say that I am looking forward to another Bingo night at the school, and this time I will make sure that I bring my A game.
For now there aren’t anymore regular Bingo nights being advertised at CSUMB, but I did see an ad for Drag Bingo coming up in April. I am expecting this to not only be just as exciting as the Bingo night I just attended, but even better.