24 things I learned at the 24th annual Ziggython

Brionna Scebbi and Brionna Scebbi

This weekend was the 24th annual Ziggython event. Ziggython is a fundraiser through the Children’s Miracle Network for Mercy Children’s Hospital. The event includes Dance Marathon — a 24-hour fundraiser in which participants stay standing for the duration of the event — and Bikes for Tikes — a three-day, 180-mile bike ride up from Cincinnati.

 

Here are some the lessons I learned from each hour of Ziggython as I danced my way through the 24 hours.

 

  1. No matter the pain in my feet or how tired I get, I need to keep going because it’s for the kids.

Remembering your “why” is important for any time you face a challenge. When you’re awake and standing for a little over 24 hours, knowing why you’re doing it in the first place is so important. DM isn’t supposed to be easy; it’s supposed to give you the tiniest taste of what kids at Mercy Children’s Hospital are going through — but even then, after a day you get to leave the pain and fatigue behind.

  1. DM is an incredible community of students dedicated to making the lives of sick children better in any way we can.

With every activity that serves as a distraction during the 24-hour event, you get a chance to grow closer to other students who are willing to go through those brutal hours for the kids. Each dancer has a story of how DM brought their sorority, fraternity, organization or friend group closer together.

  1. The Miracle Children are so special and deserve the world.

Being able to talk with the kids and find out what their story is and how the money we’re raising can help them is so important. Hearing about the struggles and sickness these adorable and innocent children are facing throughout the event from the kids themselves or their parents will break your heart and make you want to do everything in your power to make their lives better.

  1. A basketball game goes a long way.

Whether you’re shooting hoops with some of the kids or your team members, a quick pick-up game is great for engaging with others at DM.

  1. The more you do at DM, the more you’ll take away from it.

Activities like relay races, exercise classes and karaoke keep the dancers moving and energized throughout the event. The more you participate in, the less you notice any soreness or tiredness — and the kids join in too, so you get to have fun with them.

  1. You don’t have to dance the whole time, but you probably should.

Just how participating in activities keeps you pumped, dancing to the constant music and participating in lessons the Morale Captains give to help us learn the 15-minute line dance lifts your spirits and keeps you smiling.

  1. Tennis balls are a lifesaver.

With all that standing and dancing, your feet hurt; rolling your feet out on tennis balls provides a perfect massage for sore soles.

  1. The rave at 3 a.m. isn’t re-energizing for everyone, and that’s OK.

Last year when I was a dancer for the first time, I just couldn’t go hard at the rave. It’s a comeback point for a lot of the dancers as they find a second wind, but 3 a.m. is consistently the time I hit a wall. I usually take time to change clothes, brush my teeth and have a little alone time at that point in the night.

  1. You’re going to hit a wall (or a few).

My walls came at 3 a.m., 7 a.m. and 10 a.m. But, if you react to those low points well, it could make a difference in how you bounce back. My solutions to those harder times of the event are to put fresh socks on, eat a snack and spend some alone time in the much quieter turf room of the Perry Field House.

  1. Morale Captains are superheros, I’m sure of it.

If it wasn’t for the incredible MCs keeping us pumped up after they worked extra hours setting up everything for DM and will spend extra hours tearing down everything, then it wouldn’t be possible. My MCs, Abbie Bacon and Jen Riess, kept the Pink Team’s energy up every step of the way.

  1. The food is pretty great, but pack snacks.

There is an abundance of food available throughout the event, but nothing hits the spot like your favorite snack.

  1. DM brings a lot of parts of campus together.

From performances from a capella groups and the marching band to comedy groups and dance teams, the array of people you have in one room just to keep dancers’ energy up is so diverse. Then when you consider the student organizations represented in each color, you begin to see how DM brings so many different people together.

  1. Flare is fun.

A staple of DM is flare, or the crazy outfits you wear that match your team’s color. Wearing tutus, fun headbands and vibrant socks are all part of the fun of DM.

  1. Not everyone will be into DM, and you can’t let it bring you down.

Some groups have to be there as part of their student organization’s policies, and that can sometimes lead to participants appearing as if they don’t care about the kids or the rules about standing the whole time at DM. This is not always the case as many of those participants soften up to the kids and the whole event partway through. For the ones who continue to behave immaturely at DM, you could always show them what being FTK is all about by beating them in competitions among color teams.

  1. Miracle Children are resilient; you’d never know what they’ve gone through.

You learn a great deal about resilience from DM, whether it be from kids who have tons of energy at 4 a.m. or have so much positivity despite all the hardships they’ve faced.

  1. You get to do things you’d maybe never do — and at times of the day you never thought you’d do them.

From morning stretches with the swim and dive team to hip-hop lessons, you’ll be able to try a lot of new things at all kinds of times of the day.

  1. Don’t underestimate how much dancing you can do in 24 hours.

With dance practices to learn the line dance every couple of hours and dance fitness classes thrown in, you get a lot of chances to dance.

  1. You’ll have a greater appreciation for silence after the 24 hours are up.

There’s no such thing as silence at DM. The quietest space is the turf room, but even that isn’t truly silent.

  1. Merch is worth the money.

Being able to sport DM and B4T gear during the event as flare or after the event to raise awareness is worth the money, especially if you plan on dancing or biking year after year.

  1. DM wouldn’t be possible without the Steering Committee.

Steering takes care of all the logistics of DM and does an amazing job. DM couldn’t happen without them.

  1. There’s an app for everything.

The Miracle Network Dance Marathon app allows you to schedule and send messages direct to people or on social media requesting donations.

  1. Bikers are incredible.

B4T is a feat at 180 miles, and I can’t imagine the physical stamina that takes.

  1. Nothing beats the big reveal at the end of the event.

Finding out how much money you raised for the kids at the end of the event is so exciting — especially this year when there were two dollar amounts revealed. The total amount raised for Ziggython this year was $255,198.28 and the second reveal showed Ziggython has raised over $5 million over the past 24 years.

  1. I hope you dance.

Ziggython isn’t over without “I Hope You Dance” by Lee Ann Womack playing. At the end of the grueling marathon, it might be easy for participants to decide they’d rather sit the next year out, but I hope they dance.