Students sink foes in 'Canoe Battleship' event

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Photo by Georgette Stillman |

Students competed in teams of four during the Canoe Battleship contest on Tuesday night, trying to be the first to sink their foes. The ‘Aft Stokers’ won the overall first place during the night.


In teams of four, students, alumni and faculty piled into the pool at the Werblin Recreation Center on Busch campus to sink enemy canoes battleship-style Tuesday.

The event, “Canoe Battleship,” was a joint venture between the intramural sports program and outdoor recreation within Rutgers Recreation. It was organized by Paul Fischbach, associate director of sports, in collaboration with Jesse Stratowski, the outdoor recreation coordinator.

The aim of the game, Fischbach said, was to allow participants to play a real live version of a childhood game.

"(The participants’) objective (was) to engage with all of the other opponents in the water. We do heats of four, so we get four boats at a time, and the whole objective is to get as much water as possible into the other boats to get them to sink,” Fischbach said.

Each team was provided with a canoe, two buckets to fill with pool water and two rafts for protection. Participants were not allowed to empty their boats of water to stay afloat, nor were they allowed to touch other boats with anything but water, he said.

In addition to dodging the splashes of their opponents, canoers had to be wary of the Rutgers Recreation staff on the sidelines, who were making sure participants did not stray too close to the edge of the pool.

"The whole objective is for the boats to engage,” Fischbach said. “(So) if you try to hide (in the corner) then my staff around the pool are going to keep getting you wet.”

The 32-team bracket consisted of eight preliminary rounds, with one final battle at the end consisting of the winners from each round.

The two remaining teams consisted of a group of graduate students and a team of alumni. The winning team, the graduate students, called themselves the “Aft Stokers.”

Rachel Paseka, a Graduate School of New Brunswick student and a member of the winning team, said their motivation for participating in “Canoe Battleship” was, above all, a desire for glory.

She said though it was painful at times, participating was great and she enjoyed herself.

For their victory, the “Aft Stokers” received Rutgers Recreation intramural championship mugs, in addition to gift cards for each member of the team. The second place team received a gift card for dinner at a local restaurant and everyone who participated in “Canoe Battleship” received a t-shirt upon exiting the pool.

Since participants were urged to wear costumes to the event, a gift card to a restaurant was also awarded to the team with the best costume, Fischbach said.

"We had two teams that came really spirited where they all kind of wore matching outfits," he said.

Fischbach urges all those who did not know about the one-night event this year to come out next year, as it happens around the same time every year and everyone has a lot of safe fun, he said.

“You don't even need to know how to swim because everyone's has a (personal flotation device) on … it's incredibly safe, we have staff surrounding the entire pool,” he said.

Laura Whiteley, a School of Environmental and Biological Sciences senior and "Canoe Battleship" staff member, has been involved with the event before. She said it is something she looks forward to all year.

“(The environment) was electric, everybody was really excited at the beginning … and they got to see that first group go, and they were really excited to get into the pool and try it out for themselves, and obviously, when it got down to the last heat there it was definitely kind of tense and really exciting,” Whiteley said.

She said she thinks that the great thing about the event was that the people getting out of the pool, even when they lost, whether it was the first heat or the third place team, all had fun, and that is what it's all about, she said.

She encourages students to become more involved in intramural sports at the University and to come out to “Canoe Battleship” next year.

"It's a great one-night (opportunity) to just have fun and relax, and to just do something you're never going to get to do again, and (it is) something that kind of takes away from your classes and your regular type of day … come play on a team, come bring your friends and have fun,” Whiteley said.


Abigail Lyon is a School of Arts and Sciences junior majoring in economics and theater arts. She is a contributing writer for The Daily Targum. For more, follow her on Twitter @abily0n.


Abigail Lyon

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