The Illinois State club women’s water polo team is enlisting the help of its family and friends to help its chances of winning the Liberty Mutual Responsible Sports Community Grant.
The goal of this grant is to raise awareness about the importance of responsible sportsmanship behavior.
In order to participate, friends and family must read an article about responsible sporting and complete a corresponding quiz. The team that has the most quizzes taken on its behalf receives grant money to be used for equipment, uniforms or travel expenses.
“We are trying to bring people’s attention to responsible sporting practices,” team member Emily Bornhoff said. “The article is about how athletes and parents can show good sportsmanship to opposing teams and how coaches can react respectfully toward referees.”
Bornhoff was contacted by USA Water Polo in regards to this opportunity and was encouraged to register her team. Organizations qualify for the grant opportunity based on their size and financial need. Different grant amounts are offered for each category of size and need. The ISU water polo team is hoping for a reward of $2,500.
Members of the water polo team are spreading the word in order to obtain the largest number of participants possible. They have emailed family and friends, posted links on Facebook, as well as taken the quiz themselves. Participants can take the quiz until Nov. 30. Soon after, the winners will be announced.
“If we win, it would bring publicity to our program,” Bornhoff said. “Liberty Mutual is a big contributor to USA Water Polo and USA Swimming, so getting our name out there would help us gain recognition and interest.”
If they win, members of the water polo team plan to use the money for new training equipment and possibly to lower the cost of tournaments.
“Winning would let us know that we are an example for other club sports at ISU,” team member Phoebe Del Greco said. “All the club sports interact with each other and having this knowledge of how to be good sportsmen would make our team and our school look good.”
Although no record is kept of the progress of each team, the water polo team is confident that family, friends and fans will come through and help it win.
“Sportsmanship is a big part of sports. Sometimes people forget even simple things like cheering for the other team and complimenting a player,” Bornhoff said. “This competition may be for money, but it’s also a good reminder that your team may lose but you still have to be respectful.”