By Lauren Herber, Staff Writer
On Saturday, October 3 the Latin American Business and Culture Club hosted a Brazilian beach volleyball tournament. The tournament featured 12 teams of four people each, with each team representing a Latin American country. Latin music was played throughout the event, and participants were encouraged to stay at the event and root for other teams after their own team lost. It was a round robin style tournament (single-round elimination), with Venezuela and Paraguay playing each other in the championship round and Venezuela ultimately taking home the championship title. Patrick Shields (MA ’17, US), team captain of the Venezuelan team, contributed their success to “short shorts, team spirit, and sportsmanship. We knew we would be successful and through the power of team chemistry and our will to win, we got it done.” After the tournament, free appetizers were offered at the Pub, followed by a game of water polo.
While I participated in the tournament, my team was unfortunately eliminated after the first round. Representing the South American country of Suriname was myself (MA ’17, US), Tomás Thomas (MA ’17, US and Mexico), Nash Wills (MA ’17, US), and Salma Kemmou (MA ’17, US and Morocco). We played a close match with Mexico, represented by Brad Hoffa (MGM ’16, US), Drew Himmelreich (MBA ’16, US), Jose Balmori (MBA ’16, Mexico), and Neha Bandekar (MGM ’16, India). Both teams left it all on the sand court, which was so hot that players had to wear socks to protect their feet.
The event drew in a wide variety of participants ranging from students who played volleyball in college to students who had never played volleyball before the event. There were also several students present who did not participate in the actual tournament but still enjoyed the competitiveness of the event, with many students sporting clothing from their favorite team’s country and waving flags. Caroline Hafele (MBA ’15, US), vice president of the LABCC, was pleased with the event’s turnout. “As the closing event to the LABCC week, we were very happy with the student participation and the overall interest of Latin American culture throughout the week.” President of the club Jessica Knutzon (MBA ’15, US and Brazil) echoed this sentiment: “One of the special qualities of a Thunderbird is the amount of interest in different cultures. We had three LABCC events this week and all had a great turnout.” Many students enthusiastically expressed their enjoyment of the event and mentioned that they would love to participate in similar events in the future. “I think it was an awesome bonding experience, I would definitely participate again. Great way to say goodbye to summer,” said Carlos Melendez (MS ’15, Venezuela), MVP of the Venezuelan team.