ComedySportz competes in first match of 2018-2019 season


Donovan Nichols, Staff Writer


The players line up one by one on the green. There is an air of nervous excitement as they prepare themselves. The referee appears, giving the rules, making sure both teams understand. The game begins. They are not, however, running or passing anything; there are no end zones or home bases here. Instead, one player pantomimes kicking a soccer ball; another one follows in quick succession, doing the same action, but this time it is extreme guitar playing. These team members are all playing a sport for sure, but not one most would know of. They are participating in their first ComedySportz match of the year, a sport of competitive improv.

“ComedySportz is a lot like any other sport, but the competition is improv,” sponsor Meaghan Cybulski said. “Our matches are made up of improv games we play in front of the audience, and there’s always audience participation.”

The team played their first

match on Friday, October 12. Members were split into two teams where many members experienced their first ever match in front of an eager audience.

““It went really well honestly. We had a few mistakes, obviously, because you know you have some new members on the team and you haven’t played in a while, but it’s always fun just to be able to play with your school and not against another school,” sophomore Bella Morrow said. “Not having to worry about winning or losing and just letting the audience enjoy makes it really fun and laid back.”

Each match is different, but all games are meant to test the players’ improv skills. Everything is fast-paced; critical decisions have to be made in a split second.

“When I’m up there, I’m always just thinking, ‘What am I gonna do next?’ senior Stefan Mattler said. “Step by step, you’re thinking, ‘I’m going to do this next, and in this way.’ You don’t really have that long to think because the longer you wait to say something, the more the audience expects it and the more it hypes it up, If you’re sitting there for a few seconds, the audience is gonna expect it to be the funniest thing they’ve ever heard in their lives. Chances are if you’re waiting that long to come up with something then it won’t be.”

The games vary depending on the stage in the match. Some games pit the teams directly against each other, whereas others require each team to individually compete rather than face the other teams.

“We start off the match with a head-to-head game where you compete against the other team or teams,” Cybulski said. “You’ll earn points that way, and then we get into the single team games. For those, that’s when you have to create a scene, or tell a story.”

To test the players’ improv skills, unexpected changes or stressful situations are constantly thrown at them. The many games require you to truly be able to think on your feet.

“There is one game where you have to perform a scene in 3 minutes, and then they cut the time in half and the actors have to perform the exact same scene but in half of that time,” Cybulski said. “Then, they have to perform it in in 45 seconds, and 30 seconds, and 15 seconds. Then if the audience chooses for them to either perform it backwards or to perform it in 5 seconds. A 3 minute scene, condensed all

the way to 5 seconds.”

Despite the intense nature of the matches, both the players and audience enjoy it. The players are honing skills that will help them in the real world while still having fun.

““Just performing in front of people is fun,” Mattler said. “Even during the actual show you’re just having a fun time, making jokes, acting crazy. Just getting to act in front of an audience and just being a goofball in front of everybody is great.”

ComedySportz players are often funny and outgoing, but many don’t necessarily start that way. According to Cybulski, lots of new members are very shy when they audition.

“My favorite aspect about ComedySportz is that it empowers students and it helps them to gain confidence in themselves, helps them at getting up in front of a large group of people and thinking on their feet. These are a lot of skills that you need when you get into your professional careers and to learn it now at a young age is really helpful. We have a wide range of ages and types of people, but they all end up friends. I think it’s really great for the freshmen especially because it helps them get to know the school better and build those good relationships with good role models.”

ComedySportz and performing in general can lead many to being more outgoing and in general feel more at home in unfamiliar environments when required to think under pressure.

“The biggest thing I’ve gotten from ComedySportz is definitely confidence,” Morrow said. “I used to be afraid to present in front of the class or even just go up to people and say hi, but now I feel like I could talk anywhere, to anyone really. Once you perform and basically publicly humiliate yourself for a whole year straight you can’t really be scared anyone. It’s a major confidence booster.”

For the team members, ComedySportz is not only a fun competition team, but also a close-knit group of friends.

“Just interacting with the team at workshops and getting ready for the game is fun because you really get to know each and every one of the team members,” Mattler said. “You just become good friends. It’s very fun, and very laid back. The people that I’ve met are all such funny people. The whole team is just very positive and encouraging. That’s why I love it as much as I do.”