Soccer event a rainy-day success

by Reagan Thompson ’14, Contributing Writer

When this year’s Five on Five Soccer Extravaganza was rained out last Friday, most assumed that there wouldn’t be a tournament. Thanks to proper planning and teamwork, what some had dubbed a “wash out” proved a unique success.

“We wanted a fun, music-festivalesqe atmosphere,” explained Grant Allard, soccer coach and coordinator of the event.  When the rain hit, instead of cancelling the event, it was moved indoors to the Physical Activities Center.

“The turnout was excellent,” said Allard.  Over 120 students came to compete in the five on five, including faculty and staff who showed up for a game of their own.  The 13 mens’, six womens’, and two faculty-staff teams all shared one court.  Hosting the tournament in the PAC added to the overall energy of the event because there was so much going on in one space.

“The Extravaganza works because everyone gives a piece of themselves and makes this whole enterprise greater than the sum of its parts,” said Allard who also stressed that through teamwork, the Planning Alliance for the Extravaganza was able to promote the game, relay information about its new location, and keep the event a success despite the downpour. “Stuff like this is what makes our ‘Engaged’ tag line have an oomph that moves it beyond the cliché!”

Unlike previous soccer tournaments, this year’s focus wasn’t raising money, but raising awareness.  “Relay for Life was the week ahead of us . . . It’s hard to ask students again for more money! Raising awareness allowed us to set a primary goal of having fun,” said Allard.

In the past, Extravaganza, founded by men’s soccer coach Doug Allison, has raised about $50,000 for humanitarian and social sustainability projects. In 2010 and 2011 the event raised funds to aid victims of the Haiti and Japan disasters. Last year, the tournament raised funds to construct a water well in Guatemala.

The tournament winners for the mens’ and womens’ teams were, respectively, the men’s rugby team and the Kappa Delta Sophie’s.  When Allard was asked who won, however, he explained that “winning and losing are such poor terms for a situation like this. I think this experience is about growing and changing more than just getting a W.”  Each participant received a free T-shirt courtesy of Heller Service Corps and designed by Darryl Debruhl of Dzign and Mprintz.  “Maybe people will think about  sustainability issues such as other people’s access to clean water. At least when they wear the shirt, Earth Day might be something cool and memorable and not just another awareness day, but ‘the awareness day I had fun on!’”