Business and sports all in one
JDC West: Where the obscure sports thrive.
The athletic programs at the U of R are extensive. That said, there is one team you have likely never heard of. Surprisingly, the students from the business school have a competitive, successful sport team.
So why does the business school have a sport team, and what is it for? Well, every year, the faculty sends a group of students to the largest case competition in Western Canada, Jeux de Commerce West (JDC West). These groups of students are sent to not only present cases, but a large part of the competition focuses on athletics. This January, the Paul J. Hill School of Business Sport Team will travel to Victoria and compete against 11 major business schools in Western Canada.
Every year, the hosting university decides what (usually unconventional) sports will be played. This year, the sports chosen are Schtick Disk and European Handball. If the sports aren’t unique enough, the competition is. To gain some insight, I sat down with two experienced teammates, Marcus Richards and Britney Brodt. Both players are on the team for their third consecutive year and know what it takes to win.
“Patience and determination are a big factor because the competition is quite overwhelming, especially for your first year… there are so many other aspects that you have to take into consideration than just sport,” Brodt explains.
Both admit that the competition is difficult to explain, but entails a lack of sleep, a lot of cheering and an emotionally charged weekend.
“The final last year was insane… it was probably one of the most intense sports games I have been in,” Richards said.
The competition is highly competitive; however, one of the most unique aspects of the tournament is that it is difficult to gain a major competitive advantage going into the tournament. The athletes usually don’t know each other before being chosen for the team and each team has only three months to learn a weird new sport, create a strategy, and develop a team dynamic.
“It takes a whole lot of practice as a team… you have three months to learn entirely new sports… if you have a better strategy, you usually succeed,” Richards said.
Schtick Disk is the particularly unfamiliar sport this year; it involves two frisbees, is played outside and, as Brodt explains, is “like ultimate frisbee and capture the flag”.
Last year the tournament was hosted in Regina and featured a lesser-known sport, Tchoukball. I took in the games last year and was surprised that the more well-known sport, floor hockey, was not garnering the most attention. The new sport was extremely exciting from a fan perspective and the gym throbbed with energy. For Richards, the sport was also fun to play.
“It was so competitive and so fun… the level of athletics was awesome,” he said.
The JDC West sport team is important because it is an essential component to the Hill Business School in general. The team overall has performed exceptionally well in the past and is building a reputation as one of the best business schools in Western Canada. What’s more, this team has genuine pride.
“With Hill, because we are so good, it makes you more proud to go to Hill, especially because we are one of the smaller schools…it shows our business school is one of the best in Western Canada and we can actually prove we are competitive,” Richards said
The entire JDC West team has been working hard again this year, putting in endless hours in the classroom, gym and community. The entire university should be proud of this team for their continued efforts and success.