CSU Energy Institute Sports League Builds Community

EISL members head out on a bike ride.

The rules of the CSU Energy Institute Sports League (EISL) are simple: sports, science, and beer. Unlike Fight Club, these rules can and are talked about — constantly.

What started as a casual after-work pick-up game is now a thriving sports league with a regularly updated Instagram profile, thanks to an idea from Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering Bret Windom.

Last August, a few graduate students at the CSU Energy Institute switched from work shoes to sneakers and hit the basketball courts for the first official game of the EISL. That first swish started the beginning of lots of swishes, and, unfortunately the occasional brick, for the EISL. Since that first game, the EISL has not missed a week of after-work sports play.

“And we intend to keep that streak going,” said Chris Van Roekel, who is currently pursuing his doctorate in Mechanical Engineering. Van Roekel, who is a college basketball star, is also the EISL commissioner or “commish” and sends out weekly emails about upcoming sporting activities to EISL members.

For nearly a year, the EISL has hit the courts, fields, bike trails and sand pits to play sports together. “Many of us like playing all sports,” said Max Flagge, CSU Energy Institute research associate by day and chief EISL physical therapist after work. “For me, this also means getting injured in all sports.” Commitment isn’t lacking in the EISL, and Flagge still shows up, even if he’s injured.

One of those minor injuries quickly became a “favorite” moment by EISL’s Derek Young, who is a research associate, the deputy “commish” of the EISL, and the EISL’s social media guru. “Remember when Max got rocked in the face during a sand volleyball game?” he asked to a group of EISL members, between giggles.

Besides primetime for goofing around, the EISL is an opportunity to get to know colleagues outside of the office, which is why the EISL’s tagline is “Building Community: One Game at a Time.”

EISL Members after sand volleyball matches on CSU Campus.

Going forward the EISL would like to see more faculty and staff “playing sports, slinging beers, and getting out on the field,” said Van Rockel. They also hope to have a sports equipment donation drive and are hoping to hold a field day event.

The EISL is a community of people who love all sports, who support each other on and off the field, and who know that sometimes a volleyball to the face is bound to happen — and yes they’ll ask if you’re okay — after they chuckle for a bit. “We want as many people as possible involved,” added Young.

Want to join in on the fun? Email powerhouse.eisl@gmail.com. See you next Thursday at 5 pm. Humor required, hand-eye coordination optional.

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