National University students, faculty and staff teamed up for a game of flag football during the eighth annual Turkey Bowl at the Florida site. Since the first game in 2009, it has quickly become an annual tradition celebrating Thanksgiving, football and community.
Every year, staff and students are encouraged to bring their family and friends. This year, over 60 people attended the game Friday evening at the Seminole Recreation Center. Once again, the event was catered by Greek Islands Restaurant, which is owned by the family of alumnus Vicky Poulakas.
In a pre-game pep-talk, President Joe Stiefel shared some “little-known facts” about the Turkey Bowl. “Turkey Bowl is so big, the Superbowl is actually our half-time show,” he joked in the pep-talk Friday.
In accordance with tradition, four teams of eight were picked at random for a single elimination tournament. Dr. Stiefel also threw the annual coin toss for the game’s initial kick-off. Staff member Deb Bechtel served as referee.
After coming close to a win last year, DC student Christopher Kotwicki was proud to be on the winning team, the Gobblin’ Turkeys, this year. The winning team also included Daniel Strauss, DC, Dean of the College of Professional Studies in Florida, Austin Shaw, Latesa Guerra, Alfred Alessi, Brandon Lee, Whitney Winrow and alumnus Dr. Jordon VanderVeen.
“The game is always before Thanksgiving and it embodies what Thanksgiving is all about, family, friends, food, and football,” Kotwicki said. “It’s a very special event and I love being a part of it.”
He added that it was a tremendous honor to be named “Most Valuable Player” during the closing ceremony. Dr. Strauss was named “Most Valuable Professor.”
The Gobblin’ Turkeys team took home the “Stiefel Cup” and will also have their team name engraved on it. The trophy is named after Dr. Stiefel, who played in the very first Turkey Bowl.
Performance Health, a pain-relief and health product manufacturer, donated t-shirts, Biofreeze/TheraBand goodie bags and 14 premium raffle items.
For a complete collection of photos and videos from the game, and a video of President Stiefel’s pre-game pep talk, visit the NUHS Florida Facebook page.