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