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Recreation director pitches championship ring concept

October 28, 2010

Amidst the changes and improvements being made to the Campus Recreation department, Ryan McCallum, assistant director, said that the implementation of championship rings is an idea that could be in place in the next two years.

A championship ring is an award presented to each athlete on a winning team at the end of the season.

Similar to the championship rings worn by professional athletes, McCallum said that he is trying to bring the feel of the sports world to students who may have not had the opportunity to possess such a thing.

“I am a competitive guy, a sports guy,” McCallum said. “For my whole life I wanted that championship ring.”

McCallum said that he came up with the idea when he was attending Grand Valley State in Michigan. After chasing a ring for his whole life, McCallum won consecutive indoor track titles, giving him that elusive championship ring.

“I finally earned one,” McCallum said. “So I thought it would be pretty cool to pass this feeling on to the intramural participants.”

Finally, McCallum arrived at Sacramento State, where he said the idea was still fresh in his mind.

“I got there eventually, and it took me three years to get it off of the ground,” McCallum said.

McCallum said that by implementing this into the various intramural sports on campus, UW-River Falls would be gaining national recognition; even if it is a minimal amount.

“When I pitched this to Sacramento State, we were the only school in the nation doing it,” McCallum said. “So if we did it here, we would be one of two schools in the whole country to have this.”

Similar to the improvements being made to the campus recreation department at UWRF, McCallum stressed that the ring idea was a slow process, and something that he knew would take time.

“I was so determined to make this happen,’ McCallum said. “I knew it would happen, it was just going to take time, and I think it’s the same deal here.”

McCallum said that the idea is something that requires funding and support both from the campus recreation department as well as the student body.

“We need to prioritize right now,” McCallum said. “Right now I don’t know where it stands, to be honest, there is not a whole lot of room in the budget, so even though I may think it’s awesome, it may just be something that has to be put on hold.”

The rings would be purchased from a national organization called MTM Recognition. McCallum said that while at Sacramento State he developed a close relationship with the company.

“They were great to us,” McCallum said. “They were on top of it, responsive, and really treated us like they cared so that’s huge when taking into consideration who would provide these rings for us.”

The first and second place shirts that are awarded at the end of each intramural season are a UWRF tradition according to students.

While students said tradition weighs heavy on the mind, reactions were mixed when it came to the implementation of rings.

“The past however many years have been shirts,” said senior Mike Savage. “So having something new to play for should boost the competition.”

“They should just stick to shirts,” said sophomore Ariel Rygwalski. “We really don’t want to pay for anything, especially clothes.”

Still, other students feel that championship rings would be something to treasure for a lifetime.

“A shirt is something that you can wear for a couple of years before you either lose it or grow out of it,” said sophomore Dan Miller. “A ring is something that you can have forever.”

McCallum said that the idea is a continuous topic of conversation and something that will hopefully be in place sometime in the next two years.