Pool was originally started over Spring Break, 1980, by super-RA Kay Glassey as part of a "Well, dammit, if I'm gonna be stuck here instead of being able to go to Florida, I damn well am gonna bring some Florida to me!" party. (Some sources say she was trying to recreate her native California environment). An inflatable kiddie pool in the shape of a turtle was set up in the Central Living Room. And kiddie pools are hard to come by during Ithaca winter!
Since then, Pool has become an almost-nightly ritual in the backyard whereby a hot-water hose is led out of the laundry room window to a waiting kiddie-pool in the courtyard. This leaves odd spots in the snow and grass, which has often led puzzled Campus Life officials to come looking for an elusive "leaking water pipe." It's been suggested that the courtyard ecology at this point actually depends on pool.
The pool itself is replaced twice a year, with the retired pool being used for the next Spring Faire's Jello Pool. Funds usually are provided by the collective AmphibaRisleyites, and bought by whichever member happens to visit their native warm land over break.
An "original pool reenactment" was also attempted over Spring Break 2003. The hose was pulled up into Cowcliffes through the window, with rather leaky results.
All poolies (also called Amphibirisleyites) abide by the:
Four Cardinal Rules of Pool.
These are given by the person who has been doing Pool the longest, and read ceremonially whenever a new person does Pool for the first time.
1) Wear as much or as little clothing as you want, no pressure either way.
2) No food, drinks, or drugs in the pool, unless there's enough for everybody and everybody wants some.
3) No bodily fluids in the pool. ...Unless there's enough for everybody and everybody wants some.
4) No unnecessary splashing. This rule, of course, allows for plenty of necessary splashing, with the most notable cause being McNair.
Over the years, pool has become more experimental. Notable experiments include Tea Pool (300 tea bags turn the water fragrant, and "necessary tea bagging" abounds), Egyptian Milk Bath Pool (actually copious amounts of non-dairy creamer... yech), Epsom Salt Pool, Bubble Bath Pool, Ramen Noodle Pool (without the flavor packets), Floating Candles and Don't-Step-on-the-Incense Pool, Daylight-While-the-Parents-are-Still-Here Pool, and of course Jello Pool. Also, pool mini-traditions have sprung up, like the practice of serenading the occupants with a guitar while wearing a loud Hawaiian shirt, the "foot fountain" (supporting the hose in the middle with everyone's feet and letting the water cascade down), and doing the ever-popular "Gatsby stroke" (floating facedown in the middle).
Another tradition that goes hand-in-hand with Pool is the Balch Run. This is a more strenuous version of the "Risley Lap," where the entire (usually naked) contingency runs out of pool and across the street to the womens' dorm, does a little victory jig under the arch, and runs back to Pool before the cops show up.
During one more notable Balch Run, the entire party skidded to a stop when they rounded a corner and found -what else?- a CUPD patrol car parked directly in front of the arch already!!
Another time, the cops came around the back to Risley and asked the participants if they could provide some ID. I believe it was Ora who asked the pertinent question of where aforementioned ID could possibly be stored.
But for the most part, the cops leave us alone and we pretend we don't exist. Which leads to one of the more amusing, tacked-on Cardinal Rules: "The RHD does not know about Pool." (Suggested by, well, guess who).
An anonymous Ris-storyteller (Ristenure 1978-82) says: [The first Pool was in] the days of gay people just beginning to be able to be "out" without stigma (at least in Risley) and lots of sexual experimentation (it was pre-AIDS, and herpes was just coming onto the scene). The first winter we did it we had Campus Safety come down (in their car behind the building - in the middle of winter) tromp over to us (to ensure everyone was wearing bathing suits, which thank goodness we were at the time) and then proceed to ask (As the steam billows off the pool) - "Is that water hot?"