After this weekend, only one residential college will have the right to be called the Sportsfest champion.
For some, the weekend of Feb. 4 to 6 is just another weekend to celebrate the college life, but for others it’s the one weekend at UM that is completely devoted to sports. It’s a chance to compete against other residential colleges for bragging rights and a number of enticing prizes.
The event is not only for the most athletic, but for anyone living on campus that just wants to get out and get involved. Events range from track and field and basketball to competitions such as the Mystery Event or Dance Dance Revolution, which always prove to be entertaining for those watching.
While Hecht, Stanford, Eaton, Mahoney and Pearson residents all claim that the weekend’s main goal is to let people have fun, the competitive spirit cannot be denied. The Eaton Residential College lobby boasts a display saying, “Last year 2nd place, this year 1st,” while Hecht Residential College, the reigning champion, has filled its entrance with signs, banners and information about Sportsfest to get residents involved.
“I personally love the competition created by Sportsfest,” Leyla Al-Mansoori, Eaton resident coordinator, said. “I can understand how some people who are not naturally competitive would think it’s a bit much, but overall the competition doesn’t get too serious.”
Sportsfest is often mistaken as more of a freshman event since the majority of the teams form within the Stanford and Hecht towers, which are primarily freshmen dorms. It’s rare not to have a floor in the towers sign up as a team. The situation is different in the apartments and the Eaton, Mahoney and Pearson suites, since the floors are coed and students have to organize their own team within their residential college.
|– Ultimate Frisbee
– Obstacle course
– Video games (Madden and Mario Kart)
– Sand volleyball
– Track & field
– Homerun derby
– UM vs. Maryland basketball game
– Flag football
– Swim meet
– Couch potato
– Mystery event
– Table tennis
– Badminton doubles
– One-mile run
“It is more difficult to get a team in areas other than the towers. These places are usually inhabited by upperclassmen who are typically busier,” Al-Mansoori said. “People who seemed to have had a good experience with Sportsfest before are enthusiastic about being involved again.”
“There are definitely people in Mahoney who are excited about Sportsfest, but the atmosphere is a lot different than it is in the towers since there are less residents involved over all,” Cristina Nevala, freshman Mahoney resident, said.
Hecht enters the 20th anniversary of Sportsfest as the three-time returning champions. According to Keith “Fletch” Fletcher, Hecht resident coordinator, Hecht’s equation for success involves mass mobilization, participation and a sense of family atmosphere.
“Being able to get almost everyone in the building involved in some way is very important,” Fletcher said. “Also, finding opportunities for residents to participate in ways they didn’t think were possible and then having your floor or residential college behind you cheering create a sense of family that sets Hecht apart.”
Some of the more comical aspects of the weekend-long event include the team names, which in the past have included “Your Mom,” “High Men, and “Dixie Normans.” Teams sing songs they have made up, wear matching outfits and chant cheers in hopes of obtaining the spirit award.
Will Hecht win again or will Eaton prove the towers aren’t the only ones that can dominate Sportsfest? Or perhaps Mahoney, the self-titled underdogs of the competition, will surprise everyone.
Stacey Arnold can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.