The first-ever “Turkey Bowl” came to Goshen College’s campus Nov. 21. The four-on-four, single elimination, touch football tournament was a success, with nine co-ed teams competing.
For several years, people have been asking for a football tournament on campus. Unfortunately, there were obstacles to overcome, such as fall sports inhibiting participation, intramural outdoor soccer, budget and the amount of daylight the sport needed.
For Chad Coleman, director of intramural sports and of residence life, the biggest structural decision was to make the tournament touch instead of flag.
“Making it touch instead flag simplified the tournament, which I felt was important because none of our current students had really played organized flag football before. Having it touch made it simple and kept the games moving at a much faster pace. It also made it much more difficult and more fun on a short field,” he said.
To allow fall athletes to participate and have more students participate, the tournament was scheduled for a Saturday afternoon after fall sports ended.
“The last part was associating it with Thanksgiving,” he continued,“I used to play in a football tournament the day after Thanksgiving years ago in Indianapolis that was called ‘The Turkey Bowl.’ At that point I knew I wanted to do a football tournament for Intramurals…and do it the weekend before Thanksgiving with the Turkey Bowl title.”
This tournament was considered part of the intramural sports category. Coleman and other intramural sports staff ran the tournament. For each game, there were three referees.
Goshen College students were able to sign up for the tournament online, the same as other intramural sports.
The winners received intramural t-shirts and a $25 Buffalo Wild Wings gift card. The winning team, Safe Touches, was made up of sophomores Dan Smucker, Isaiah Breckbill, Jacob Penner, Laura Hochstetler and Andrew Snyder.
“I will definitely do the tournament again. I thought it went extremely well. Every team showed up and was ready to play on time. The attitudes were great on the field with very few penalties… it was fantastic,” Coleman said.