Whoever said that winning is the only thing that matters in sports clearly never played recreational sports at California Baptist University.
While it is difficult to find a championship team laden with frowns and grumpy attitudes, students at CBU have perfected the art of having fun with recreational sports and for them it has nothing to do with winning.
Andrew Linder, a junior, knows all too well how to enjoy his sports without winning.
In his freshman year, Linder, along with a handful of fellow engineering majors, decided to create an intramural basketball team despite the fact that none of them had ever played basketball competitively, at least not since middle school.
Dubbing themselves the “Blue Building Boys,” in respect to the blue colored School of Engineering building, Linder and his teammates set out to enjoy the intramural basketball season and hoped to grab a few wins along the way.
As the season progressed they had no such luck.
Linder’s makeshift team of engineers failed to win a single game in their first season together. After a disastrous 0-6 season, they suited up again the next year, hoping to experience a break- through and enjoy their first victory together.
Again, no such luck. Two years into their intramural collegiate career, the Blue Building Boys still had nothing to show for it. Twelve games had come and gone, and not a single one of them ended in favor of the engineers.
As their junior year rolled around the team decided to give it another shot. The guys with a 0-12 record were determined to turn things around. After beginning their third season with two losses, the Blue Building Boys finally enjoyed their first win together in their third game, beating their opponent by more than 30 points.
After two and a half long years, Linder and his band of faithful teammates enjoyed their first taste of success.
One week later they enjoyed their success yet again as they won their second straight game, also by a lead of 30 points.
So what was it that kept them together for so long despite the absence of victories?
“We all just really had a fun time playing together,” said Linder. “We all got along extremely well as classmates and friends and even though we never won we enjoyed playing alongside one another, working hard, and having a good time. We were all athletic but no one had really played basketball before. We all had our other primary sports.”
This year, with the exception of one player, the Blue Building Boys roster is yet again made up of all engineering majors. From civil to structural engineering majors, this group of pals has enjoyed three seasons of intramural basketball together and, despite the gaping lack of success, they have thoroughly enjoyed their time with one another.
This demonstration of loyalty amidst failure is evident across every intramural sport on campus. Whether it is intramural basketball, soccer, volleyball or flag football, there are always teams that make a habit, and a joyful hobby, out of not being very good.
Another example of gracious losers are this year’s flag-football phenomena, “The Gentlemen.”
The Gentlemen, most popularly known for their game day apparel of cut- off, button-up suit shirts, made a common practice of losing, and losing hard.
Despite losing the majority of their games, The Gentlemen showed up to each and every one of their games bright-eyed and smiling, and they did so with incredibly warm attitudes and surprisingly appreciable manners.
Living up to their name was a major ambition for The Gentlemen, who inexplicitly made it their objective to be the nicest and most pleasantly polite team anyone had ever beaten.
Regardless of their lack of success on the scoreboard, The Gentlemen and the Blue Building Boys were determined to enjoy their seasons, and whether their fame came from unorthodox uniforms and uncharacteristic football manners, or from their historically unimpressive losing streak, these teams thoroughly enjoyed their experience with intramural sports.
These are just two examples of many teams who have had similar experiences in CBU recreational sports. However, there always remains a fun atmosphere because of the friendly and colorful personalities that make up these teams. It is proof that winning isn’t everything.