Plenty of enthusiasm marked the third annual Unity Games as students from a variety of different backgrounds came together Friday for a day of athletic competition.
Stereo speakers filled Fetzer Gym A with songs like M.C. Hammer's "Can't Touch This" as the 100 members of 10 teams each donned a T-shirt and socks featuring their team's color.
Students from many organizations including the Black Student Movement, Sangam, student government, the Residence Hall Association, Carolina Athletic Association and Sigma Chi fraternity came out to participate. But many individuals came without a group.
Zach Comer, chairman of the Unity Games, said the purpose of the games was to bring together students of diverse backgrounds in a fun, casual environment."The idea behind it is that they should interact and break down the normal barriers," he said. "We try to make the teams really diverse and make this place feel like a community."
The games started with master of ceremonies Matt Martin getting the participants excited. The team names, including the Light Blue Looney Tunes, Tangerine Thundercats and Fire Red Fraggles, helped encourage zany cheers and team spirit.
The competition consisted of many events including tug-of-war, bombardment, a foul-shot contest, steal the bacon, an EA Sports snowboarding video game called SSX and two relay races with balloons.
The winner of each event received five points, while the losing team received one. Three spirit points also were assigned for every event.
Spirit points pumped up the already enthusiastic participants and made team spirit just as important as skills. "Spirit points don't go up to the end, so you don't know who is winning," Comer said.
Dance parties and team cheers broke out throughout the games as each team tried to show they had the most spirit.
The games allowed students to be positive and embrace each other's differences as they strove for a common goal.
Christina Bilzi, a freshman from Wilmington who was on the winning team, the Smooth Green Snorks, said the games were enjoyable and brought people together in a fun way.
"It was cool winning, but basically I already had fun. We would have had fun regardless," Bilzi said, "Now that I've done it, I would tell anyone to."
Organizers said the games turned out to be a great success. "There were a lot of people keeping spirit up," said Allison Pickett, co-chairwoman of the games.
With a third consecutive year of success, organizers of the Unity Games said they are looking to expand the event and allow even more students to participate.
"We want to make it biannual," Comer said. "We want to do it again in the spring. If we did it outdoors again, we would like a few more teams."
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