- Sports , Student
Pusphaira 5x5 tournament is mostly low key
Student soccer association Pusphaira held its annual 5x5 tournament last Wednesday, May 24th. In the end, it doesn’t really matter which teams wins, be it ‘Jan en alleman’ or ‘Henry’s Hartendiefjes.’ What matters is that people enjoy the day, and that those who want to can kick the ball around. You can’t make an event more accessible than that. Cursor stopped by to look around.
The atmosphere at sports park De Hondsheuvels is relaxed, there is little tension in the air. “It’s very low key today,” says Jolijn Martens. She usually plays for Pusphaira’s Ladies 1 team, but today she’s one of the stars of the Pattern team. “Everyone is welcome to join. What matters is that everyone has a great day, it has nothing to do with competitiveness. It’s not about ending up on the podium, as long as you end up at the Feestfabriek on Stratumseind.”
The sun hides behind a layer of clouds, but the grass is dry. Team ‘Zoveel vragen’ faces ‘The Untouchaballs,’ and ‘Groetjes Thuis’ competes against ‘Gewoon degelijke nasi.’ The 5x5 tournament is reminiscent of the Intro. There are groups of students everywhere, some of whom are wearing funny outfits. Very short skirts, tiaras and wings: check. But most students are dressed in soccer shirts. There’s a team dressed in pink Hajraa shirts. “We are very competitive, but we aren’t that well prepared for a soccer event,” the volleyball players say. “Beer is our warming up and we’ll see what happens next.” It turns out to be a successful strategy, because they beat the ‘WijSturenJeInHetBosman’ team 3-0 during the first round, which lasts fifteen minutes.
Not every team competes just for the fun of it. Keeper Max Michielsen (see photo above) of team Passion managed not to concede a single goal, “but I would prefer to have won the game.” Team ‘FC Beunhaas’ (see main photo) goes all out, but says that it will settle for the 'beauty prize'. The mechanical engineering students put much thought into their luminescent vests, which make them stand out from afar. Each player has a large number printed on the back of their vest.
Automotive student Wouter Elenbaas is one of the organizers of the event. As treasurer, it is his job to manage the budget. “It’s a lot of money, but it’s our good fortune that this event has been organized several times before. The schedule and the estimate were in place. We had sixty teams last year, and that’s why it’s great that we have the same number of teams this year.”
The organizers took their recruitment activities quite seriously, Elenbaas says. “We put much effort into promotional activities, and we also went to Fontys with our flyers. It’s nice to also involve student from applied sciences universities. The last team to enroll happened to be the team from Fontys Applied Psychology.”
Is that team, named ‘Topsy Gang(bang),’ aware of the fact that it helped make the sixty-team schedule possible? Halfway through the first game, a ‘substitute player of the moment’ says that this is news to him. “But it feels good. It’s meant to be.” As he speaks to Cursor, his team extends its lead over team ‘Ponykamp’ from 5-0, to 6-0 and to 7-0. That, too, feels good.
Elenbaas decided to join to organizing committee because he felt it was a nice opportunity for him and his five fellow organizers to make a success out of the event. The master’s student became a member of Pusphaira relatively recently. Before that, he played for the Madese Boys. “Now I’m in P10, the student club’s tenth team, in the bottom league of the KNVB.”
Elenbaas doesn’t have time to join in any of the games during this tournament. He has been working hard since this morning. “Connecting two bars, setting up the coin sale, getting the food stands in the right place, placing 24 goals, marking the fields with cones, supervising the tournament, there is so much to do during a day like this.”
For the most part, Elenbaas and his fellow organizers don’t have to referee any of the 125 games (until the finals). The treasurer knows how difficult it can be to act as referee. “If you don’t control the game from the get go, and if you don’t see everything that happens, it’s not easy. You really just need to bluff if you aren’t sure. Definitely don’t show any doubt, that will get you into trouble.” Fortunately, all the participants and supports managed to keep themselves in check during this edition of the 5x5 tournament. The same can’t always be said about professional soccer…