Article by: Abhi Kottamasu
IASAS, in addition to being a tournament, is a way for the schools to unite and come together as a community. The social aspect of the tournament makes way for many traditions. Some include: the renowned ‘IASAS crush’, the IASAS compliments Facebook page friended by almost 2000 people, the IASAS tunnel and finally the loved IASAS superlatives.
One of the most prominent of traditions at IASAS is the “IASAS crush”. During the banquet, on the last day of IASAS, delegates chant the name of a person who then has to stand up and hug their “crush” from another IASAS school. Many athletes recall this as one of the highlights of IASAS as it is often very humorous and even hints at some budding trans-IASAS relationships. Josh Miller, IASAS rugby and football athlete, believes that it is an interesting way to cement friendships across the IASAS schools and says “It is a great thirst quencher” as he discovered. Not only does it allow you to connect with athletes from other schools but also gives you something to look back and laugh about in future tournaments.
Another IASAS tradition, which connects athletes from 6 different countries is IASAS compliments. This is a facebook account run by an anonymous person who posts compliments anonymously sent in from various IASAS athletes in all the schools. This account has proved to be very popular among the IASAS schools as it has 1974 friends to be exact. Akira Sugata, IASAS Cross Country, Track and Field and Culcon participant thinks it is a great concept as it “shows the connection between the athletes even though they’re supposedly ‘rivals’ on the court, track or meet”. She likes the fact that people can support and encourage each other from over 1000 miles away and believes that it truly epitomizes the IASAS spirit.
One of the most intense IASAS traditions is the ‘IASAS tunnel’. Regardless of win or loss, teams are ushered through a tunnel created by the hands of fans and teammates. Lukas Fiechter, 1/4th of the 4×50 gold medal team believes that the IASAS tunnel shows the gratitude from the fans. He recalls, “As I walked through before that medal race, it gave us the confidence that was needed to medal and create ISM history, it was great”. Consequently, Mark Winhoffer, IASAS football athlete believes “going through the tunnel is like walking through and forest filled with love trees and kind bushes and when you reach the end you are a changed person”.
In conclusion, we can clearly see that all these traditions are loved by many IASAS athletes. We can only wait to see what new and innovative traditions, teams and fans in the future will create.