The lights were shining bright on the Bronco Blue on a calm fall evening. Students spread across the field as footballs soared through the air. Those who had gathered to watch their friends were wrapped tightly in blankets, while those playing in the Toilet Bowl moved around constantly to retain their heat.
The Toilet Bowl is a yearly, co-ed single elimination flag football tournament that happens during Boise State Homecoming week. On Oct. 30th, students flocked from all across campus to play some ball on the blue. Groups consisted of fraternities, sororities and clubs on campus, and friends gathered to show off their skills. Divided into 11 teams, over 150 students participated in what many students consider one of the most competitive intramural events of the year.
“I’m out here to win, I’m in it for the t- shirt—it says intramural champions,” said senior accounting major James Appel, who attended the Toilet Bowl to play. He is playing with some of his friends from the Rec Center. Their team name is the Gym Reapers.
Daniel Fragel is in his first year as the intramural coordinator. Fragel said he was looking forward to the Toilet Bowl and the excitement it brings in allowing students the rare opportunity to play on the Blue. Fragel explained that a unique part of the Toilet Bowl is the addition of kicking field goals, which normal flag football does not allow.
“This makes game strategy different as teams must decide if they would rather go for it on 4th down or attempt the field goal,” Fragel said.
Junior education and English double major Bennie Miller also came out to enjoy some competition. After his mens flag football team won the intramural championship a few weeks ago, Miller said they gathered the best possible women athletes they could find to form a sort of super team.
“When I was talked to about playing in (The Toilet Bowl), my teammates asked me… do you want to win?” Miller said. For Miller and his friends, this event is all about being the champion. “We’re lucky, the girls’ backs hurt from carrying us in the first game.”
Competing wasn’t the only reason people attended. Junior Cecelia Staggs, Spanish and linguistics double major came out to watch her roommate play.
“(My roommate) is a badass. She made a catch nobody expected, and it’s been exciting as I love being on the blue. It’d be less exciting if this was in the stands,” Staggs said.
Students weren’t the only people taking advantage of getting to be on the blue. Don Miller and his wife sat draped in fleeces waiting for their son Bennie to play his next game. Don, who is a Boise State alumnus from 1983, and he said he cherishes every time he gets to watch Bennie play.
“Getting to come out here is better because it’s on the blue, but there’s nothing we’d rather do than watch our kids play,” Don Miller said.
After a long day of friendly interactions, laughs, spectating and a large amount of football, the Toilet Bowl reached its final two teams. The Gym Reapers defeated Foot and Ballz by a score of 37-18. Somewhere on campus you should be able to find James Appel walking around with his fresh new t-shirt.