As the year is coming to an end, stress begins to set in. Students prepare for their finals and frantically check to make sure their T’s are crossed and their I’s are dotted. Luckily for University of Massachusetts Boston athletes there is a bit of solace amidst the chaotic finals week.
The week prior to finals marks the second annual “Battle of the Beacons.” This event, which will take place May 15, is hosted by UMass Boston’s athletic department and features a variety of fun activities for Beacon athletes to participate and compete in.
The man in charge of the event is Oderra Jones, UMass Boston’s Community Outreach and Engagement Coordinator. “This is one of the biggest spring events for the athletics department,” said Jones. “It gives our student-athletes the chance to meet people they normally wouldn’t run into on a regular basis.”
The teams are broken down by year: freshmen, sophomores, juniors, and seniors. Then there is a daunting, gruesome battle, and may the best squad win. The events consists of activities like dodgeball, tug of war, and even a pie eating contest. The environment is hectic and there is tension running through the air.
But all jokes aside, it’s a fun day for the athletes. Not only that, it creates a close-knit culture within UMass Boston and allows student-athletes to relax and have a bit of fun as finals set in.
For a commuter school, this is a great way to get student-athletes acclimated into the Beacons community. The Battle allows the student-athletes to meet other students from different sports.
Last year the event was extremely successful. It had a turnout of about 80 athletes from a variety of different sports programs. “I had a great time at the event,” said Men’s Track and Field Sophomore, Kelly Desane. “It was really fun for us to meet other athletes at school.
“We were playing in games like tug of war and capture the flag. As we were competing I got to know a lot of the other athletes. Now a lot of us are friends … Some of the upperclassmen have been real cool in helping me transition into college. Not to mention that the freshmen won. That was cool for us.”
Yes, the freshmen did take the championship trophy home, followed closely by the second place seniors. This was a very thin margin of just 10 points.
“We won about three of the events,” said men’s soccer Sophomore Edmilson Barros. “It was a fun day, but we wanted to win. Bragging rights for the whole year you know? We are trying to become back to back winners this year.”
As the second Battle of the Beacons approaches, bragging rights are once again up for grabs. It’s almost impossible to predict this year's winner. The sophomores seem to be confident that they can win for the first time. Having said that, the Juniors appear to want to upset last year's champions.
“This year the juniors are going to take the crown,” said women’s basketball junior Olivia Murphy. “The Battle should be interesting this year."
“Overall the event is great for younger students coming into UMass Boston ... Because UMass [Boston] is a commuter school, it can be challenging for students to meet people. Unlike a traditional college we aren’t constantly on campus and we don’t meet people through dorms. Instead, the Athletic Department does a great job creating a community for its students.”
As a successful year of Beacons sports comes to an end, the Battle of the Beacons is a fun and relaxing way to end the spring season. This year UMass Boston was fortunate to have a title winning soccer season, a historic hockey run, numerous 1000 point club additions, All-Americans, and many more amazing accomplishments. There is only one question left to ask. What class will be the next champions of Battle of the Beacons?