What typically comes to mind when you think of a convention? A weekend at a camp a few hours away? A weekend with your region? Tournies are a convention of its own that doesn’t fall under either of these categories.
SJR holds Tournies annually at our JCC from 7 pm - 7 am the next day. The convention is 12 hours of non-stop hype from 7 pm - 7 am the next day. The convention is an all-nighter spirit convention that keeps members awake and active throughout the whole night. AZA chapters compete for the Tower of SPAM, and BBGs compete for the spirit stick, the respective AZA/BBG spirit trophies. SJR gets its highest attendance at Tournies, with approximately half of our paper members attending. SJR has members that register for BBYO only to attend Tournies!
As you can imagine, SJR takes this convention very seriously. Preparation for Tournies can begin up to a month in advance. At prep, chapters create a song they will present for points to the Tournies judges and design the apparel their chapter will wear at Tournies. Beyond this, the logistics of prep can vary from chapter to chapter. The night starts with chapters presenting their songs to the judges (past alumni and chapter advisors) who decide how many points each chapter will receive. Most chapters are then split off into two teams from here. These teams will compete in a variety of different competitions throughout the night to win their chapters points towards the Tower of SPAM or Spirit Stick. These competitions include sports-related games, relay races, songwriting, and other sports.
Around 1 am, the team competitions are put on pause to bring chapters together in a food eating competition. Each chapter selects 3-5 members to participate in these competitions and win their chapter points. These competitions range from pie-eating games to less appetizing challenges like downing a cup of mayo. Eating competitions are, in my opinion, one of the best parts of Tournies and rally chapters together towards winning their respective spirit trophy.
After the eating competitions, chapters split back up into teams and continue to compete in competitions. The Tournies competitions after food challenges are AZA/BBG specific and do not have AZA and BBG chapters competing against each other. For AZAs, these competitions are mostly athletic programs, and BBGs do a mix of athletic and non-athletic competitions.
The last activity of the morning is the dodgeball tournament. Dodgeball competitions for Tournies can be very intense, as they are the last opportunity for chapters to win points. The dodgeball tournament has two brackets, an AZA bracket, and a BBG bracket. These brackets can last for hours, with some games lasting up to a half-hour. After dodgeball wraps up, the final points of each chapter are calculated, and the winners of the SPAM and Spirit Stick are announced. The winners of these trophies this year were Marlcrest AZA #2149 and Dafna BBG #1110.
Tournies is meant to rally SJR together through 12 hours of straight hype, which it did not fail to do this year. While my chapter, Chapel AZA #245, did not win, I still enjoyed participating and am excited about what the convention will offer my region next year.
Charlie Rosin is an Aleph from Chapel AZA #245 and swims for his high school swim team.
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