Intramural football scores high in fun and competition at CBU
Riverside, Calif. (Nov. 6, 2023) – It’s a crisp October afternoon on the Front Lawn at California Baptist University. Whistles pierce the air, and a small crowd of students cheer from the sidelines as players sprint across the field with the football.
Intramural flag football has been a part of CBU for decades. Players and fans alike revel in the excitement of the season. This year, over 470 students participated, making up 21 men’s teams and 11 women’s teams.
The season spans four weeks before culminating in a week of playoffs.
Playoffs for what?
Fortuna Bowl, CBU's annual championship game played on Parent and Family Weekend.
Fortuna is not only a high stakes game, but has become an integral part of CBU culture since starting in 1991. Students and families will fill the seats on Nov. 11 to watch players fight for the title of champions. This year, Hail Mary’s will face Twinkle Toesies in the women’s game and Rings by Spring face Twinkle Toes in the men’s.
For players, the spirit of competition is alive and well as they vie for a spot in the playoffs. Some players and teams return year after year to chase a spot in Fortuna Bowl, said Marnie Kavern, assistant director of intramurals.
This year, returning teams include the Hail Mary’s, Smooth Criminals, J.A.C.K. and Yellowjackets.
Hailey Fanucchi, an elementary education sophomore, is looking forward to the playoff games. Her team, the Hail Mary's, won Fortuna Bowl last year. The team has been working hard at practice twice a week to prepare.
“I honestly just love the team and I love the people,” Fanucchi said.
Fortuna may be the end goal, but it isn’t everything.
“With flag football being a large team sport, players have the opportunity to meet and interact with lots of students that they may not have previously met,” Kavern said. “Many of the teams scrimmage together, which creates a deeper bond. Although they will still be competitive, I have seen great friendship and camaraderie across teams.”
Players enjoy the community they find within their teams, and the fun they have on and off the field.
Levi Miller, an environmental science sophomore, plays on the Yellowjackets and said he's grown closer to his team throughout the season.
"They picked me up. I was a free agent and I’m actually really happy with it,” Miller said. “I didn't know anyone, and I feel like I know them a lot better now.”
Jensen Pascal Smith, a business sophomore, also of the Yellowjackets, seconded Miller’s point.
“Every day is team bonding, even if we were to see each other off the field, it’s always love,” Smith said.
Community, team bonding and a contagious culture of competition keep players returning year after year. Despite her team not having a winning season, Elizabeth Brown, an elementary education sophomore, of the McQueen’s is looking forward to playing again next year.
"We all got really close, I'd love to grow that more and hopefully become a better team" Brown said.