With students anxiously packing the seats of Gaither Gymnasium, speakers blasting the sounds of Jim Jones’ “We Fly High” and colorful posters and pompoms filling the air, Florida A&M University students came together Thursday to witness the annual “Clash of Classes” basketball game.
Sponsored by the FAMU Campus Activities Board, the tournament allows the freshman, sophomore, junior and senior classes the chance to compete against one another in a basketball game.
“It took a lot of advertising and planning to pull the tournament off,” said George Olokun, a CAB volunteer and former chairman. “Our goal was to make this year’s game better than last year’s.” Olokun, 21, a senior political science student from Atlanta, said the event’s turnout and support was more than he expected. Many excited Rattlers attended the tournament in support of their respective classes.
“I am here to support my freshman class, and everyone is hyped and excited,” said Olufunsho Aboyade-Cole, 19. The sophomore business administration student from Inglewood, Calif. said she enjoys spending time with her class and supporting them.
For some students it was a time to seek revenge from last year’s ‘Clash.’
“Although we lost last year, it’s our turn to win,” said Derrick Thomas, a senior business administration student from Fort Lauderdale. “Even though the seniors are going to take it, the game is all friendly and healthy competition.”
For Monique Gillum, Student Government Association vice president, said the ‘Clash’ was a way for students to laugh after several campus tragedies. “Following the deaths of two FAMU students this past holiday, this tournament is a great way for students to come together and have a good time,” said Gillum, a junior political science student from Gainesville.
“This is a hard time for many students, and the tournament is a way for everyone to enjoy themselves,” she said.
For the players and coaches, the game was an opportunity to put a week of practice to good use.
“We’ve been practicing all week, and our team has a strong mindset to win,” said Jina Haynes, a member of the junior class basketball team. Haynes, a third-year business administration student from Dallas, said although the team was flustered in the beginning, they pulled their game together by halftime. “Our team felt each other’s energy and went into the game confident and excited,” Haynes said. Despite the team’s excitement, the sophomores lost to the freshman class, 33-24, and the juniors fell to the senior class, 48-39. Still, participants’ feelings remained optimistic.
“It kind of hurts to lose, but the seniors were a better team and deserved to win,” said Jeremy Mounticure, the junior class assistant coach. Mounticure, a 20-year-old business administration student from Birmingham, Ala., said that his participation in the ‘Clash’ would not end there. “I would love to come back next year and participate in the tournament.”