With Superbowl Sunday just behind us, American football is huge this time of the year. But for those of you who prefer sports from South Asia, there’s a club on campus that might be perfect for you: the Bengal Brothers Sports Club.
Muntasir Al Kabir, the president of BBSC, said the club has sports teams for all sorts of games popular in South Asia, like cricket, volleyball, soccer, badminton and table tennis.
“It's not very usual at UNM to have different teams in a singular organization,” Kabir said. “I think we have a very good relationship (with) each other and there's a very good environment to play games, to meet new people, and we are always welcoming to the newcomers (so) that they can feel comfortable in our place.”
Kabir said that the club is comprised of about 75 people, mostly consisting of male graduate students. The club has a women’s badminton team, but most of the teams are for men only.
Although there are no co-ed teams at the moment, the club is trying to organize them, Kabir said.
He said the most popular and prominent teams the club has are volleyball, soccer and cricket. Their soccer team went to a tournament in El Paso, Texas last semester.
“Besides the sports, we met some other university people, other university communities,” Kabir said. “It was a very good feeling to us, it was a very good memory to us, and I believe that it extended our brotherhood and extended our friendship to each other.”
He said that the tournament lived up to its motto that it was a friendship tournament.
It’s not just at tournaments that the BBSC gets to strengthen their friendships and meet more people, though. Kabir said that his favorite part of BBSC in general is the plethora of social opportunities the club offers.
“I like to meet new people, I like to meet old people, I like to meet all people,” he said. “For me, the most interesting thing for Bengal Brothers is the get together. Because I play cricket, I play soccer, I play all the games organized by Begnal brothers, I don't like any specific games, but I like to meet new people.”
One of the other prominent teams that the BBSC has is the cricket team. According to Kabir, their cricket team participates in the UNM Cricket Cup and would like to go to a cricket tournament in Colorado in the future.
However, the club struggles with funding, Kabir said. Because of this they often do not get enough of a yearly budget to go on the trips that they want.
This has not stopped the team for looking to the future.
“Last year, we were the champion for the UNM Cricket Cup, which was organized by the UNM Cricket Club and was held on Johnson Field,” Kabir said. “We are hoping that on the next budget (meeting) we can show those things so that we can grab some more (funding) to go to Colorado.”
Rashidul Hasan, the vice president for the BBSC, said that the club talks about the budget during every regular monthly meeting.
“We try to meet at some coffee shop so that we can have some coffee and some drinks,” Kabir said. “All the group and community members should be present at the meeting. ... mostly we talk about the activities, what we are going to do in the next month and how we can uphold the budget for these activities.”
In addition to those monthly meetings, the club meets to practice their various sports. Most of these practices happen during the weekend, Kabir said.
“We play every week, mostly on the weekend,” he said. “Every week we play volleyball, soccer or cricket. It depends on the mood, it depends on the participating people and how much people are participating in the games, but every weekend we play something.”
“I like the volleyball in the summertime and in the fall — I can play every day of the week,” Hasan said. “We play every day in the UNM Family Housing. There's a nice field there. I like volleyball. And in the weekend I like to play cricket; that's my favorite.”
BBSC puts together a yearly volleyball tournament as well, said Mosharaf Syed, the undergraduate representative for the club.
The club does not just play sports — they put together a barbeque once a semester to welcoming new members. These barbeques are one of his favorite parts about the club, he said.
“On different occasions, we meet new people, Bengali people, and we always invite them,” Kabir said. “We always encourage them to come, to join and to play with us.”
Syed said a big draw for the club is that it offers recreation and stress relief.
"(School) is a very stressful environment," Syed said.
“We like to...make relationships with the Bengal community at not only this University, but also at other universities through sports,” Kabir said. “That's the Bengal Brothers.”
Anyone interested in learning more can go to the Bengal Brothers Sports Club Facebook page.
Ariel Lutnesky is a culture reporter for the Daily Lobo. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @ArielLutnesky.