In the midst of midterm season, projects, tests, essays, and other assignments are all anyone can really think about these days. What’s ‘fun’ when you have to spend 6 hours studying, on top of going to classes, work, or other extracurriculars? Nothing…...except if you had gone to unleash that pent up stress at APASA’s Tournament of Champions this past weekend on Saturday, Sept. 29!

This year, APASA had our annual ToC event at the University Village Great Lawn from 10:30am to 1:30pm where a large majority of our APA organizations came out for a few hours of bonding, games, competition, food, and most importantly: fun!

The morning started off with our usual bouts of checking in, mingling, and getting everyone situated into teams. These teams, headed by APASA e-board members, would compete against one another in each of the games in store for the day. The reward? The choice between a boba party, additional funding for the respective APA organizations represented within the team, or the opportunity to meet the special APA speakers coming to campus in the spring! With the stakes high, ToC kicked off by having the teams get to know each other before the real competition began. After all, you can’t win as a team if you don’t act like one. After coming up with some catchy team cheers and playing “Be Unique”, a game where the goal was to say something unique about yourself but also get to know your teammates, the real competition began.

The classic telephone-charades game was the first and perfect game to test the teams’ improv and cooperation skills--- do you think you could have successfully charaded and guessed “USC Tour Guides” down a line of 9 people? Next came a soaking favorite: the sponge game. With temperatures as high as 85 to 90 degrees, ToC gave our participants a chance to cool off by having a sponge relay. In a line of 11 people, the first person had to sprint to the bucket of water, soak up as much water as possible, and hand it off to the next person. Then, the second teammate passed it over their head to the third, who would then pass it between their legs to the fourth, and so on and so forth until the very last person squeezed the water into a small bucket. The squeezer then ran to the water to repeat the process, and the first team to fill their bucket to the brim would win the points! Unfortunately, a few of the buckets had some leakage problems… sabotage, perhaps? Just kidding. (but also, jk, not really, I’m still a little salty ): )

After a water break from all the running, the teams then chose a few representatives to play Chubby Bunny with smores-sized marshmallows that had been slightly melted from the heat- yum! Judging from the amount of marshmallows people ended up eating, we could tell people were getting pretty hungry. Luckily, the food was on its way and there were only two games left: the relay and water balloon toss. The relay was short and sweet, only needing 7 people and lasting only a few minutes. With two teammates linked arm in arm, they needed to coordinate their steps to run to the cones about 50 feet away, pop a water balloon between their bodies, and run back arm-in-arm. The next few people hopped in potato sacks to the cones and back, and the last person just needed to sprint and return. Honestly, even with all the moaning and groaning over needing to exert physical energy at 12pm on a sunny Saturday, people really moved f a s t. Last, but certainly not least, was the water balloon toss. Pairs lined up facing each other in two parallel lines that stretched across the entire width of the field, and our lovely Internal Community Chair Zac commanded participants to toss the balloons back and forth, having them take a step back each time the water balloon was caught. ‘Twas not a good day to wear white shirts, I’ll tell ya that.

As we waited for the point results to come out and find out the winner, all our participants and even a few passersby were invited to chow down on some delicious burritos, chips, and pico di gallo dip from La Taquiza nearby USC. On the side, we had cornhole set ups, an extremely large jenga set, and a life-size Connect 4 game with discs the size of an air hockey puck for people to pass the time with. Finally, the results were in. The winners were…. Drumroll please…. APASA-tar team with Bhangra, APCA, TAO, and Kazan Taiko! Congratulations to them!

Although my team did not win the small trophies and the chance for extra APASA event funding, I had a good time, and I hope others did too. As much as we all may dislike exercising, sometimes it’s nice to be out of our stuffy study rooms, suffer physically with our friends, and enjoy some free food!