The Handmaiden Bowl: 8 Years of Ordering the Disciplines through Sports

Handmaiden Bowl 2013For the last eight years, UD philosophy and theology professors have turned to sports to settle an age-old question of disciplinary superiority with the annual Handmaiden Bowl. This year, philosophy triumphed over theology 14-5 in a game of softball, handing off the title of "handmaiden" to theology...until next year, anyway. The winning department takes possession of a plaque with a mounted bell that can be used to "summon" the losing department—all in good fun, of course.

"The name "Handmaiden" Bowl derives from Aquinas' language concerning which discipline was 'handmaiden,' or servant, to the other: theology or philosophy," said Mark Goodwin, pitcher and chair of theology and dean of the School of Ministry.

"Philosophy, the love and pursuit of wisdom, has always been fueled by a spiritedness of soul informed by courage, and thus the victory of the Philosophy Department over the Theology Department reveals the boldness and bravery required to undertake a genuine philosophic quest," said Matthew Walz, associate professor of philosophy.

The Handmaiden Bowl started when philosophy alumnus Joe Landreneau '05, currently an attorney in Alexandria, La., wanted to do something to bring the two departments together. The Friday after spring 2005 finals, students, faculty and alumni gathered for a game of flag football near Holy Trinity Seminary. Current faculty who participated in the first Handmaiden Bowl included Joshua Parens, professor of philosophy, Christopher Malloy, associate professor of theology and Fr. James Lehrberger, O. Cist. and associate professor of philosophy, who refereed the game.

"More than anything I remember how hot it was," said Landreneau. "I also remember Dr. [Mark] Lowery and Dr. [Lance] Simmons watching the game from the comfort of some shade, being fanned like emperors and cheerfully trash talking the other department."

The 2013 line-up included a number of students and alumni. Professor William Frank, Associate Professor Christopher Mirus and Walz played for philosophy, while John Norris, associate professor, Andrew Glicksman, assistant professor, and Goodwin represented theology.

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