GVSU holds 2016 Global Games

The event featured several international sports and campus clubs

By Natalie Longroy | 9/28/16 11:16pm

GVL/Kevin Sielaff 2014 Global Games

For the last eight years, Grand Valley State University has hosted a Global Games, highlighting international groups and sports on campus. This year’s event was held Tuesday, Sept. 27 at the Kelly Family Sports Center.

"I have never played bubble soccer. I saw it in pictures and I really wanted to do this,” said GVSU student Riya Patel. “I would never ever do it before but thanks to this night, I love it.”

Other than bubble soccer, there was cricket, table tennis, Zumba, yoga and capoeira mandinga.

The GVSU club cricket team, which was rebooted in the summer of 2015, is a new participant of the Global Games.

“We have a team going, but with the international population that’s coming in and out every two years, it’s hard to maintain a team,” said club faculty adviser Ram Ravikumar. “My goal is to form a steady team and compete with other teams in Michigan.”

Global Games strives to expose every GVSU student to unique cultural clubs or sports.

“Global games is an opportunity for all students on campus to have exposure to games from around the world and try to explore cultures and have understanding, make new friends based on common activities of sports, athletics, moving around,” said Kate Stoetzner, director of international students.

For domestic students, they are not faced with this kind of diversity as much as the international students and this is the perfect example of a way to experience that.

“We want to make sure that everyone feels comfortable with each other and that doesn’t matter who you are, like you can come to this event and learn things about different cultures and leave with your eyes wider than what you came in with,” said Micah Brown, campus recreation marketing and communications assistant.

For certain international students, GVSU was the slipper to their Cinderella story.

Netherlands native Amber Tieck found GVSU after taking a test through a program that helps narrow down schools for international students.

“You have a really alive school spirit, in my opinion, like you have school sports and everybody goes and everybody’s cheering,” Tieck said. “Everybody wears Laker T-shirts, it’s so cool, it’s something new and I love experiencing it.”

Cultures have a deep history and the clubs on campus acknowledge that, especially the capoeira mandinga club.

Capoeira has been called breakdance fighting for people who don’t know the real name. It’s a Brazilian martial art, but it includes dance, music, culture and spirituality. There is an international community that participates in the art of capoeira.

“When capoeira was originally created, it was created by African slaves in Brazil,” said public relations officer Kayla Williams. “They would use it to defend themselves to learn how to fight, but they could disguise it from their masters."

With Global Games—and sports as a whole—there is no language barrier, it’s simply play to play.

“When I studied abroad, I was in France and there were people playing capoeira in the street,” Williams said. “I didn’t speak French, they didn’t speak English, but I just went up to them and said, ‘capoeira,’ and they asked me to play with them.”

More information on some of GVSU’s international sports can be found at www.gvsuclubsports.com.

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