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Springfest

Can you win with just Sports Day?

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Students participate in Sports Day 2016

Students participate in Sports Day 2016

Josh Omenazu

Josh Omenazu

Students participate in Sports Day 2016

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Springfest is considered to be the longest-standing tradition at UIS. The earliest record of Springfest found was from 1992, but it was not the intense competition that it is known for today – and they did not have themes.

When referring to the earliest iterations of Springfest, Mary Umbarger, Student Life’s student

organization and leadership coordinator, said that it was a “very different event.”

Currently, Springfest is a week full of events and competitions with the intent of community-building and to help students interact with each other. Each team is given points for these events for a variety of reasons.

But the question falls, then, to how these days weigh against each other.

According to Umbarger, “Each main event is roughly equal. We try to weigh everything to be about the same. There’s no one day you can go to that you could win Springfest.” 

The main day of concern for some participants in regards to the point system was the final day, Sports Day.

 “We do weight Sports Day a little bit,” said Umbarger, “so you have to participate in Sports Day to win, because you have to be there to win. You could not win Springfest by only doing Sports Day.” 

Winning a sport, a team can gain up to 15 points each win, while the team that loses gains five points. There are currently up to 18 potential sports for the day. However, the number of participating teams determines how many sports there actually will be.

While there are currently 45 teams registered, not all will participate for a variety of reasons. One reason could be that a team needs at least seven people to participate at any point during Sports Day. While it is allowed for team members to come in and out during the day, seven members must be present and this is not always possible for some teams. This causes a shift in the schedule for the day and in how many sports can be played.

“People normally play about seven or eight of [the sports], depending on the schedule.”

The term Sports Day could also deter teams from participating, but Umbarger wants students to know, “We try to balance those sports out so that they are not all like flag football.” 

Umbarger continued, “Each individual students have their own strengths,” which is part of the reason they have a wide variety of sports for the day. “We really want it to be a community building event, so students interact with one another.” 

Umbarger recalled an example of  this occurring during a Sports Day close to two years prior.

“We had a team that was comprised of a lot of the people who played dodgeball every Tuesday and Thursday, it was like a dodgeball team for Springfest. They drew dodgeball as one of their sports and they were playing against an international team, who maybe didn’t know how to play dodgeball.

“They let them do practice rounds and taught them how to play the game, which is really the spirit. While they could have just come in and just annihilated the team that didn’t know how to play that game, instead they taught them. Yeah, they won, but it was a good experience of cultural exchange.”

A single day cannot win Springfest for a team, and this includes Sports Day. The attendance-based events, such as the dinner and service event can earn a team up to 50 points, if all members attend. However, it can take a team up to three sports to win close to this total of points.

As Umbarger said, “There is no formula to win Springfest.”

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