For first-year students here at Davidson, the words Sunday afternoon and flickerball are essentially synonymous. Despite fatigue from a grueling academic week (and possibly a late Saturday night), the Wildcats’ finest intramural athletes head out to the IMACs each weekend with intensity and excitement. It is rare to meet a student who does not look back fondly on flickerball, and many even rave that it’s their favorite thing about being at Davidson. What makes this sport, invented on campus in the fall of 1951, so integral to the first-year experience? I asked several current flickerball stars and a few alums to share their thoughts.
Everyone I talked to emphasized the importance of flickerball in the transition from high school to college, particularly in making friends. Freshman Sarah Woods ‘21, a resident of Watts, told me that, “flickerball really unified our hall and made us even closer.” It’s undeniable that the camaraderie developed in flickerball is part of what makes most first-year halls so close. Sophomore Tyler Brosius, one of many upperclassmen who became a coach or referee because he missed the sport so much, agrees with Woods and also argues that “flickerball bridges the gap between the feeling of ‘What am I doing?’ the first few days of college and the feeling that ‘These are my best friends’ a month later.”
In addition, Brosius, who is coaching the Men’s Base Belk and Women’s Watts’ teams, thinks that flickerball is a great outlet for former high school athletes who are not playing D1 sports at Davidson. A baseball player in high school, Brosius was pleased that with flickerball he could enjoy a familiar athletic environment without the intense time commitment of a varsity team.
Of course, the most important part of flickerball is not making friends or acclimating to college life, it’s winning, and in the women’s league, the team from 2nd Belk has excelled at just that.
Undefeated through the regular season and quarterfinals, the 2nd Belk Squad told me that, “We play with the rage of living in a system complacent in the disenfranchisement of people deemed less than”. After winning a first round matchup against #8 seed 1st/Base Sentelle, 2nd Belk will play in the semifinals on October 15th. In other news from the women’s league, sophomore coach EJ Kelley wanted to shout out his team from 3rd Sentelle for, “demonstrating exemplary camaraderie, sportswomanship, and funtensity (fun intensity) week in and week out. Win or lose, we always embodied the exuberant spirit of our team song — “All Night Longer” by Sammy Adams.”
Unfortunately, Kelley’s team lost to Brosius’s 1st and 3rd Watts’ squad, who will take on the powerhouse 2nd Belk in the semis. The winner of that matchup will play the winner of #3 seed 3rd Belk and #2 Seed 1st and 2nd Richardson in the finals the Sunday of parents’ weekend.
In the men’s league, the #1 seeded team, 4th Watts, has been dominating opponents all season long. After barely escaping a potential first round loss against the dark horse #8 seed 3rd and 4th Richardson, 4th Watts will look to remain undefeated against 1st Belk east in the semifinals.
The most likely challenger to 4th Watts is #2 seed 4th Sentelle, who beat Base Belk 20-14 on Monday to advance in the tournament. 4th Sentelle will go up against an impressive team from 3rd Belk in the semis. 3rd Belk is known for their grit and determination; when safety Evan Goosman broke his ankle on a defensive play several weeks ago, he boldly stated, “What matters is that I broke up the pass on that play.” Men’s semifinals are slated for Sunday October 15, with the finals being held the following Sunday at 1 pm.
I would urge all Davidson students, faculty, staff, and alums to go out and watch the semifinal and championship matches in the coming weeks. Regardless of which team wins, you will certainly witness the incredible sportsmanship, passion, and teamwork that have become trademarks of the freshman flickerball experience.