At Alma, student athletes not only hold important roles as athletes for their specific sports, but also through their involvement with their buddy teams.
“In the beginning of the year, teams from different seasons are paired up to support each other during games and or other events they might have going on,” said a member of the Women’s golf and lacrosse team.
Too often athletes get caught up in the thrill and busyness of their season, that they rarely get the opportunity to branch out and support their fellow athletes. Therefore, buddy teams were put in place as a way to encourage involvement on campus and between the various sports teams.
“The purpose of having buddy teams is to have more Scot-on-Scot support. It gets your team to learn more about the other sports on campus,” said Jennifer Kowalczyk (’20), a member of the women’s golf team and the Special Event Coordinator for the Student Athletic Advisory Committee (SAAC).
Buddy teams enable athletes to not only have a reason to take a break from their busy schedules and support each other, but it allows them to become more familiar with sports they may not have taken any interest in before being paired together.
This is why fall and spring sports are often paired together, such as tennis being paired with softball and track with women’s basketball.
Kowalczyk, whose golf team was paired with men’s lacrosse as their buddy team, said, “the buddy teams are selected based on opposite season (men’s lacrosse is in spring and golf in the fall) thus allowing the teams to attend more of each other games/ matches.”
Pairing teams with different sports’ seasons gives each team the opportunity to attend each other’s games or events to learn more about their particular buddy team’s sport. It helps athletes branch out to different sports that are outside of their season.
On top of this, having a buddy team is like having a permanent support group at many or all games and events to cheer each other on despite only one event attendance being required.
“As a team, you are required to attend at least one event of your ‘buddy’s events’, often times teams support by bringing game day goodie bags and posters,” said Kowalczyk.
On top of buddy teams attending each other’s events, they often times bring treats or signs to help root on their fellow athletes as an added bonus. Doing this not only adds to the overall support but shows that their buddy teams are supporting them on and off the field through signs and gifts or sideline support.
“We give our buddy team notes and a small snack and then we try to make it out to many of their games. We often make these team events so that our team bonds as well. I think this has an impact because it allows for both teams to realize that outside of our own inner circles, there are other people rooting for us,” said MacKenzie Chevailer (’20), a member of the Women’s lacrosse team.
The goal of buddy teams is to show fellow athletes that Alma’s athletic department is a community – one full of constant support from every sport. Whether it comes in the form of a Gatorade and a note or a sign, each team is rooting for each other, even if they realize it or not.
“In the past, we had women’s soccer and during our season they made each one of the players individualized posters and brought them to our game to support us; I still have mine as many of my teammates do,” said Chevalier.
Team-on-team support goes deeper than some people realize. It even carries on into the seasons to come.
Therefore, the buddy team system not only opens the door for more people to become informed about certain sports, but enhances the opportunity for unity among the teams to grow.
“Being able to support another team and start building connections with them, I believe, is very important. It brings different athletes together as well as bring up more support systems throughout the athletic department,” said Benoit.