By Kary Feick

kfeick@my.madonna.edu

“We are TEAM LAABS! We are TEAM LAABS! Who’s gonna win? TEAM LAABS! We are TEAM LAABS! Who’s No. 1? TEAM LAABS! We are TEAM LAABS! YEAH!”

The fresh smell of pizza, warm greetings from friends, and the loud, exciting Team Laabs cheer filled the air at Woodland Lanes last month.

Faculty, staff, students, and family swung their arm for a strike during the 2011 Bowling for Scholars event.

One of Bowling for Scholars’ goals is to bring Madonna’s staff and faculty together outside of work.

”It is fun to be with people from work when they are in a relaxed atmosphere with no work interruptions,” said Cheryl Henson, Technology Training Specialist at Madonna.

Choosing team names and matching uniforms is a tradition each year during the event. This year, Henson was part of the 10-Pin Mafia team, which included many Help Desk and technology employees.

For a very mysterious look, the 10-Pin Mafia team wore black t-shirts with a picture of a tuxedo on them, top hats, and black pants.

“Dancing together with our tuxedo t-shirts, mafia style hats, and the boom-box playing “I’m Bad” was my favorite part of the event,” said Henson.

Beth Hoffman brought a Radio/CD/Tape player to the event and surprised everyone by turning on the music, cranking the volume, and walking around the alley while dancing.

Chris Benson, Olga Martinez, Nicole Nagy, and Lorenzo Gutierrez-Jarquin dressed in “punk rock” attire. To complete his look, Gutierrez-Jarquin even put on black eyeliner.

Benson said her favorite part of the event was taking group photos in their “punk rock” outfits.

“No one expected us to do that.  We do not dress that way at our normal jobs, so it was neat to see the expression on people’s faces when they realized who we were,” said Benson, Associate Dean for Academic Advising and First-Year Experience at Madonna.

Among the other teams, Team Laabs designed their own t-shirts for the event.  The team wore Madonna University baseball t-shirts, but they carefully customized each one.

The baseball t-shirts were decorated with neon fabric paint that had the “glow-in-dark” effect. Each teammate also wore a custom baseball cap and baseball pants.

During the event, Team Laabs carried a blue and yellow Madonna University flag for each team cheer. Unbeknownst to Team Laabs, the 10-Pin Mafia snuck up and snatched the flag, hiding it underneath a table. Later in the evening, the 10-Pin Mafia began singing “You’re a Grand Old Flag,” and then held up the flag. Team Laabs laughed and tried to steal their hats, but decided later that stealing a hat was no match for the giant flag.

About 125 bowlers and spectators attended the fundraising event.

“The Graduate School staff is very grateful for the fantastic support shown by the Madonna community for this event,” said Edith Raleigh, Dean of the Graduate School at Madonna University. “Without them, it wouldn’t be a success.”

At the end of the night, the funds raised amounted to $3,400. The scholarship money is currently in a pool for both underprivileged students and qualifying merit scholarship students.

“We raised more for the scholarship than ever before and we had an attendance of about 125 people – the largest to date,” said Raleigh.

For the past four years, the Graduate School at Madonna has held the annual Bowling for Scholars fundraiser in an effort to raise money for an endowed scholarship fund.

“An endowed scholarship fund is established to provide scholarships out of the interest accrued annually while the principal remains intact and growing,” said Raleigh.

After the Bowling for Scholars event last year, the graduate school had raised approximately $10,000. Other events, such as the September Scholar-Am Classic added to the fund in 2010.

“That gives us about $16,000 in the endowed principal for the scholarship fund,” said Raleigh after the bowling event.  “A small scholarship will be awarded for the first time next fall.”

Beyond the fundraiser, food, and bowling, the Graduate School included a short awards ceremony for the bowlers.

The awards ranged from the best overall score by gender to best children’s score. Last, but not least, and certainly the most remembered was the Team Spirit award. While both the 10-Pin Mafia and Team Laabs showed an immense, unforgettable amount of team spirit throughout the night, the team with the most spirit swept the award. The bowling pin mounted on wood and handcrafted by Melanie Minch’s father-in-law joined the list for the first time this year.

“Without further adieu, I have to present the award and disappoint three out of four teams,” said Raleigh. “It is just killing me to do this. I’m trying to drag this out as you can tell.”

After a few last team cheers and a drum roll, Raleigh announced the winners of the Team Spirit award. Due to all of their loud cheering and uplifting encouragement to each other, Team Laabs swept the award.

“I plan on making my office home to the Team Spirit trophy for a long, long time,” said Thomas Laabs, proud of the team and the award. Laabs is the Financial Aid Advisor at Madonna.

Despite winning the award, Team Laabs shook hands with the 10-Pin Mafia, congratulating them on a good game.

“Team Laabs challenges all teams to try and win the Team Spirit award next year,” said Laabs.

For more bowling and team spirit fun, join the graduate school on Friday May 18, 2012 for the 6th annual Bowling for Scholars.