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Sports Night at AlbrightAlbright Revives an
Old Tradition

by Amy M. Buzinski ’03

Teams of students race for the finish line. Punches are thrown. Ping-pong balls fly through the air. Footballs sail through tires and cheers and boos resonate from the crowd…these images define Albright’s annual Sports Night.

Starting in the early 1950s, Sports Night became an annual event at Albright. Teams of students competed in various athletic events in order to gain points and at the same time, raise money for the Reading YMCA and YWCA.

Every year teams battled for the coveted President’s Trophy. Points were awarded to teams throughout the year who placed first, second or third in intramurals, Stunt Night or Sports Night. “Sports Night was the hallmark of the year. As soon as we got to campus our teams would start to practice for it,” says Herbert C. Miller Jr. ’61. Held the first Friday of every March, Sports Night was the Albright event. “It was the beginning of spring and it helped everyone to vent all of that winter aggression,” says Miller.

Sports Night at AlbrightMany of Albright’s men and women looked forward to competing with their teams for the title. Teams usually consisted of fraternities and sororities yet there were also teams consisting of day men, day women, dorm men, the Domino Players and Albright Court competing.

The men competed in tug of war, wrestling and boxing while the women battled in ping-pong, badminton and relay races. “My teammates and I would go to the gym and practice the rope climb and tug of war in order to get ready for Sports Night. It was a big thing,” says Miller.

Sports Night also drew a large crowd of spectators. Miller remembers the support of the student body. “They would pull the bleachers out and it would get loud. You could really tell who the crowd was rooting for,” he says. Some came for the entertainment while others came out to watch the fierce competition, especially among the fraternities, for bragging rights.

However, with the Vietnam War in the late 1960s many traditions at Albright began to diminish. Unfortunately, Sports Night was no exception. “There was a type of ‘I don’t care’ attitude,” says Miller. Yet, in the spirit of tradition, Miller would not let the glory of Sports Night fade. “I wanted the kids to realize that there is always something to do at Albright, plus Sports Night is a great tradition,” he says.

Gives new meaning to the term two facedMiller worked with the athletic department and was able to revive Sports Night in 1995.

The modern version of Sports Night is slightly different. Now, there are co-ed teams of students competing in such events as the football toss, obstacle courses, scooter races and a belly flop contest to name a few. Each year Sally Stetler, director of athletics, has helped to organize each of the events. “It’s a non-alcoholic activity where the students can blow off some steam and just have fun,” says Stetler.

“While Sports Night is less competitive, it is still a lot of fun,” says Miller. The most recent Sports Night was held in Albright’s Life Sports Center and was sponsored by the Student Athletic Advisory Council. “We thought it went really well and we think it will continue to improve,” says council member Cassandra Walker ’05. Team T-Town took first place and received coupons for free pizza. There was also a raffle in which a DVD player and stereo system were given away to students.

The Student Athletic Advisory Council plans to host the event every year and looks forward to having a team of alumni come out and compete for next year’s title. Hopefully, the tradition of Sports Night will continue at Albright for a long time to come.

 
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