Rutgers students cool off with canoe battleship competition
On Tuesday night, when the temperature reached over 80 degrees Fahrenheit, Rutgers students cooled off by playing "Canoe Battleship" at the Cook/Douglass Recreation Center.
Associate Director of Sports Paul Fischbach said that the event was organized by Outdoor Recreation and Intramural Sports.
"Canoe Battleship" is played in a pool, where teams of four compete to remain afloat in their canoes longer than the competing teams, Fischbach said. Each team is equipped with two buckets for throwing water at other boats, and two kickboards which can be used like oars to steer the boat.
From the sides of the pool, staff members unaligned with any team use buckets to throw water at random boats. The only rule is that competitors may not use their buckets to scoop water out of their canoes. Matches typically last only a few minutes.
“This was an idea that was circulating at different schools throughout the country,” Fischbach said. “We knew as soon as we ran it that the students would love it ... It's just a way to relax when spring starts up, and do something that's a little bit different.”
Mike Petuskey, a senior in the School of Arts and Sciences and an Intramural Sports supervisor, said that the game is structured as a tournament. There are four “heats,” with four or five teams competing in each one. The winner of each heat advances to the final round. The teams that come in second place in each heat compete in a “wildcard round,” where the winning team also advances to the final round.
Johan Reyes, a first-year in the School of Arts and Sciences, was on a team that was eliminated first in its heat.
“We saw a flyer and we were like, 'Hey, let's do canoe battleship,'” Reyes said. “We signed up, we're like, 'This'll be a great time.' So there was no real preparation for it. I don't really know how you prep for this.”
Reyes said that the center of the pool is the safest area, as it is out of reach of the staff members throwing water from the edges of the pool. He attributed his team's loss to their failure to reach the pool's center quickly enough. Even so, he said that he had a great time and that he made new friends and new enemies.
Anthony Strano, a senior in the Rutgers Business School, and Erica Cipollina, a senior in the School of Arts and Sciences, were on a team that won its heat.
“I have been trying to do (Canoe Battleship) since my freshman year, but I never was able to get it in time,” Cipollina said. “So this was the first time I was actually able to do it and I dragged my friends along with me.”
Cipollina said that her team did not practice, but that they had discussed strategy beforehand.
Unlike Reyes, Strano said he does not believe that the center of the pool is necessarily the safest area. His team's strategy was to move toward the least crowded side of the pool and to use the provided kickboards to scoop water out of the boat.
Strano said that he had only learned about the event two hours prior, and so his team had little time to strategize.
“I took a nap and I was ready to go, and here I am,” Strano said.
Strano also said that his team abandoned their strategy early in the match when one of their buckets was dropped in the water and subsequently lodged underneath their boat for the first two minutes of the heat.
Cipollina said that using the buckets offensively is necessary for success in canoe battleship, but that a defensive strategy for keeping out of reach of competing boats and water-throwing staff members is equally important.
“There's a lot of new stuff going on here that you can try for the first time ... that not many other schools offer,” Petuskey said. “I would encourage everyone to get involved with intramurals whether it's leagues or events like this ... This is definitely something neat and interesting that Rutgers offers.”
Max Marcus is a School of Arts and Sciences senior. He is a contributing writer for The Daily Targum.