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Take It Personally: UCLA streaker encourages lasting inspiration

Public humiliation, criminal charges, physical pain — how far would you go to create a once-in-a-lifetime memory?

Jace Lankow, the infamous streaker during last week’s UCLA vs. Arizona game, incurred all of those consequences and more when he decided to impersonate a referee, stop play and strip down to his tighty-whiteys in the middle of a nationally televised college football game.

The consequences that he didn’t anticipate, including being blindsided by a police officer and instigating a bench-clearing brawl between the two teams, surely made his experience all the more memorable.

Lankow, a 22-year-old University of Arizona student, is now living out the consequences, and perhaps benefits, of his reckless decision. Because the Pac-12 has suspended 10 players as a result of the fight, Lankow has gained a little more recognition than your everyday streaker.

Fun, until you learn that he is also facing felony charges. Yet, even after knowing that, why is it that I’m still jealous of this guy?

In an interview with KVOA, a local news station in Tucson, Ariz., Lankow called the plotted move his “last hoorah” before graduation.

His reasoning behind the national spectacle? He wanted to have a stand-up answer to an application question for the game show Wipeout: What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever done?

My cognitive recognition of this situation progressed in a few stages. When first seeing the clip online, I thought Lankow was clever. When I heard that he was facing a year and a half in jail for the stunt, I decided he was a moron. But when I heard his reasoning behind it, I decided, once and for all, that he was an inspiration.

Not that you should look out for my personal re-enactment during the Ohio-Temple game, though.

Of course there are better means of making a life-changing memory, and I’m sure some people would be disgusted by my declaring a streaker “inspiring.” In this case, it’s more about the motive.

When first hearing the anecdote, the natural reaction is to think of what your own answer would be. It leads most of us to imagine the craziest thing we’ve ever done. Imagine the fulfillment that comes with having an answer that you could be proud of.

Luckily for us, there’s a more rational route than following in Lankow’s footsteps.

Instead, a motivation such as his can lead to life-changing influences — the kind of life-changing that doesn’t include a jail sentence, that is.

It would be crazy by my book to give enough of yourself to have a lasting influence on someone else’s life — a positive change that is idolized and paid forward.

Although I wouldn’t label Lankow’s plot admirable, his ambition is exactly that. He acted on that subdued restlessness that many people on a similar path can relate to.

Of every Ohio University student, no two dreams and motivations might be exactly alike. No matter how true that might be, what does it mean to you to bring them to life?

Nicole Spears is a sophomore studying public relations and a columnist for The Post. What’s going to be your streaker moment? Email her at

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