Football has been non-existent at Brock University over its 51 year history, and the joke that the school has been undefeated in the sport over its history has gone on for quite some time.
However, on March 20, football made its way onto Brock campus as a student run organization hosted the school’s first flag football tournament, or the first football tournament in recent memory.
PlayMakers, an organization run by students at Brock, organizes different sporting tournaments throughout the year for students, and all proceeds go towards a different initiative each tournament, locally or internationally. For the flag football tournament, PlayMakers decided to split the money for two different initiatives.
“We were approached by a family-friend, who helps with the Syrian refugees that come to Canada,” said founder of PlayMakers, Adham Shama. “There are a group of Syrian refugees located in Hamilton, and she asked us to buy soccer balls for the kids. They don’t speak much English and don’t have much to play with.”
Their second initiative was to raise money for a Brock alumnus who helps with the 100 Smiles Project. With the money raised, the former Brock student looks to run a surfing camp in El Salvador. Also, some of the money will be going towards buying baking utensils for the kids over there, as they have a bakery built, but no utensils to do anything with it.
“They are trying to get the kids involved with real life skills, so that way they have more on top of sports,” said co-founder of PlayMakers, Emina Kapo.
The flag football tournament was PlayMakers’ fifth tournament organized this year and first time they have organized football in their three year history. It now joins the list of basketball, soccer, volleyball and dodgeball.
There were 12 teams who signed up for the tournament, which collectively raised over $1,000. Each team was allowed six players on the field at a time, but had to have a minimum of two females as well. The winning team was “Multiple Scoregasms”, and they won Toronto Blue Jay tickets.
Along with the initiatives, this flag football tournament was extremely special to the entire PlayMakers organization as it was the final tournament for Shama as a Brock student. Shama is set to graduate with a degree in Sport Management in April, and has been the lead organizer of PlayMakers over the last three years.
“We are sad to see him go,” said Kapo. “We are here to make it a special day for him and we are going to miss him. He’s going out on a very good one, our first flag football tournament. He’s been a great leader and it has been a pleasure working by his side.”
Kapo will now take the main leadership role of PlayMakers if Shama is not on campus and she hopes to continue the success Shama has started. However, Shama also expects to be coming back next year to help run events.
“I hope we can continue it, salvage it and make it last for at least a couple more years,” said Shama. “I could potentially still be focusing on this after graduation. It brings a lot of Brock students together, and maybe we can expand it.”
PlayMakers began with seven members in 2013, who were forced to run around campus just to get the club started. It has now grown into an organization with close to 100 members.
“We keep seeing the same people come out, so that means they really enjoy our tournaments,” said Shama. “We are really happy that we created this at Brock, as it is something people look forward to. We constantly hear people asking us when a tournament is happening and that they already have their team ready.”
“From what we started out with to what we have now,” said Kapo. “The depth we have grown, the amount of members and the spirit that the school has got from all this is unreal. Also, all those kids we put smiles on their faces – we are so thankful for everyone that is part of this team and everyone who comes to support us. We are all in this together, this whole school – we are a family.”
Brock can no longer say that football has not been played on campus. Though, there is intramural flag football at Brock, PlayMakers tournament arguably the best buzz around campus regarding football in quite some time. PlayMakers has created a lot of memories on campus, and this is just another added to the collection. Shama wanted to start something at Brock that would be remembered for a long time, and he has done just that.
“[Playmakers] was [Adham’s] dream and it has become a reality,” said Kapo. “It will forever be his baby, as we will continue it on and keep it going for as long as we can.”
To get in touch with PlayMakers, you can like their Facebook page or visit their website playmakersfoundation.com. To keep up to date on future events and for other news on PlayMakers, follow their Snapchat playmakersfdn.