posted on March 21, 2013 14:21
The Mighty Unicorns and Goonsquad might be unusual names, but for fans and players at the University of Mobile they represent intramural squads who fought with their heart and soul like they were playing the NAIA Championship Tournament. But racking up the highest score isn’t the only way intramural teams at this Christian university play to win.
Denver Hawsey is captain of the Goonsquad, the team that won this year’s men’s flag football championship.
“I think the intramural program at the University of Mobile does a good job of keeping Christ at the center and using sports to reach out to other students in the school. We usually pray before each event starts,” Hawsey said.
Britanny Gardner, captain of the women’s team The Mighty Unicorns, also emphasized the importance of keeping their focus on the right goals.
“Winning is great and all, but if you don't do it in a way that glorifies the Lord, it's not worth it,” Gardner added.
The University of Mobile offers more than 18 different sports and activities that are strongly inspired by Christian values and competitive spirit.
Coordinator Trent Catchpole pointed out that, in a competitive setting, implementing Christian values can be a big challenge. Sportsmanship is a big part of a competitive spirit and the idea of a “sportsmanship grade point average (GPA)” was implemented in this program in order to emphasize all the Christian values this school stands for.
According to Catchpole, the sportsmanship GPA is part of the intramural handbook, but most of participants don’t realize it is a factor in the game because UMobile students rarely need to be cited for unsportsmanlike conduct.
Catchpole said a member of the student intramural committee is observing or officiating each game played. They "grade" each team’s sportsmanship based on an objective 4.0 scale, adapted from other universities. Beside regular score in games, sportsmanship scores are added to the final score of the team. Teams who have a sportsmanship GPA lower than 3.0 cannot take part in championship games. This type of innovation accents true mission of the University of Mobile: to emphasize Christian values through any aspect of campus activities. The purpose of the sportsmanship GPA is to prevent students from arguing with officials or showing any kind of disrespectful behavior.
Catchpole said the school’s new lighted intramural field expands the options of this program.
The intramural program hosts classic sports like softball, volleyball and basketball, with several new non-traditional sports including a video game all-nighter, ping pong tournament and Quidditch. They have added Net nights, which is a series of self-officiated games expected to be well-accepted by students. The biggest innovation added is Spikeball, a fast-paced game that combines volleyball and foursquare.
The Intramural program exists as a way to involve non-athletes into campus life athletic activities. Catchpole said many participants were high school athletes who don’t compete at the college level, and offering different sports increases involvement of students with many different interests.
Winners deserve prizes and UMobile always finds a way to acknowledge the championship team. Usually winners get a T-shirt and some cash prizes in the form of gift cards. The competition event extends into non-athletic areas. This year there will be an open competition for submitting ideas for intramural t-shirts designs, and the winner of this competition will have his or her design on next year’s T-shirts.
Catchpole said the program is advertised through school’s page on different social networks like Facebook and Twitter, and also through a website www.imleagues.com
where the University of Mobile has its own page among more than 450 schools who publish their schedules and applications online.
University of Mobile flag football team had a lot of success last year had an opportunity to travel to Florida to compete with other intramural teams. Catchpole said a future goal of the intramural program is to host a tournament and bring teams from other schools to the UMobile campus.
For more information about the intramural program at the University of Mobile, call Campus Life Coordinator Trent Catchpole at 251.442.2311, visit www.imleagues.com/umobile
or check out the school website at www.umobile.edu
By Leana Tajkov, media relations intern
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