Georgia College and State University, also known as Georgia College, is a little liberal arts school located in Milledgeville, Georgia. The school is home to roughly around 7,000 students. In more recent years this school has become more and more popular and is becoming one of the top schools in Georgia. Another way this school is getting on the map is by becoming the third member of the Intercollegiate Speedball League behind Kennesaw State and Georgia Tech.
The key to creating this team was obviously by gaining interest. My first plan was to see if anyone wanted to even try and play this sport. At first, I had absolutely no success. I had just transferred to Georgia College from Kennesaw State for the Spring 2013 semester and wanted to start up my own Speedball team. It was always a dream of mine to build a team for a sport and I saw this as a really good opportunity. However, since I had just transferred I did not know anyone and I realized I needed to have a plan to get this sport started here in Milledgeville.
My next semester here I had a lot of lucky events fall into place. I had a friend from high school that also transferred in here, and he really enjoyed Speedball back when we would play it in P.E. at our high school. He was very vital in the early stages of the recruiting process, and brought some friends to a scrimmage we had to show people the game of Speedball. I distinctly remember we had a whopping total of six people show to that first scrimmage, and I could not have been more excited. And those people that showed up really enjoyed the game and stuck with it throughout the whole process. All of those guys were very helpful in helping me recruit more guys. The more people we found, the more people heard about it around campus and we got about 20 guys to play with us by the end of the fall.
However, recruiting was only half of the process of making Speedball a reality here at Georgia College. While finding guys to play I also needed to find some faculty members to support my club. My first step was going to the Rec Sports department here at school to see if they would be interested in supporting us as a club. I went in to that meeting with the rulebook, and the constitution of the club to show I really meant business with this unknown sport. The Rec Sports director was really impressed and gave me the approval and also gave me some tips about how I could make Speedball a big thing. He told me that I should only focus on finding people to play rather than focusing on playing games which was really the best advice I got throughout the process. It does not necessarily have to take a whole semester to recruit like it did for me, but I did learn that patience is very important and there will be people out there interested. It just might take a little more time than I wanted it to.
Next, I had to find a Campus Advisor for our club. This would be the hard part. Being a small liberal arts school I thought it may be difficult to find a faculty member that was interested in sports. I decided to look through some of the teachers in my major, Sociology, first and I saw the perfect match. A professor named Dr. Costas Spirou taught a class at our school called Sociology of Sport, and I was thinking, if I could show him Speedball there would be no way that he would say no to me. He agreed to meet with me and he said he had a lot of interest in seeing how this sport would grow. That got me really excited and convinced me not to give up and get this thing rolling.
So by the next semester we were ready to play our very first game against Georgia Tech on our home turf. I remember our team was so excited to play that we all showed up about two hours before our first game. We were all nervous with this being our first game and all, but we were ready to finally show what we were capable of. Both sides started out slow as we getting over our first game jitters, and Georgia Tech’s squad was getting used to playing on grass instead of their turf fields. After we all got used to things it was a shootout for the rest of the game. It was a close one, but we lost 32-30. Even though we lost, we as a team we very impressed with how close we kept the score for our first game. And even though we went throughout the season without a win and a 0-3-1 record, we still had fun and enjoyed helping grow the sport of Speedball.
Throughout the year we became very accustomed to playing with each other, and developed some chemistry as a team. It was a challenge at first, but what team doesn’t struggle with being one cohesive unit. We as a team know that we do have so much to improve on. We need to find a lot more players, get in shape, and work a ton with our feet as well as our hands. I also cannot thank TJ Flesch of Kennesaw State and Doug Walker of Georgia Tech enough for starting this sport at their schools, and I hope I can be the same type of ambassador for all of the other students attempting to start Speedball on their campuses. I promise starting this sport at your respective schools will be a very enjoyable experience and you will not regret it for one second.