Auburn University Fraternity Hosts Dinner for Men's National Team

Oct. 01, 2014, 8:47 p.m. (ET)

When you attend the same university that hosts the residency program for a national governing body of a sport, you're afforded many privileges. 

You can watch talented athletes train for and practice the sport they are passionate about. You can be among the first to know when seasonal try-outs are scheduled for those interested in joining said residency program. You can even invite the players to your fraternity chapter's house for dinner to welcome them to your campus.

Auburn University senior engineering student, Eric Finch, has taken advantage of all those privileges.

Since trying out for the USA Team Handball Residency Program and making the cut as a goalkeeper, Finch has developed strong relationships with his new Team USA teammates. Also a member of the Sigma Pi fraternity chapter at Auburn University, Finch felt that more could be done to make his handball teammates feel welcome at Auburn. So he organized a dinner to be hosted by his fraternity for the USA Team Handball Men's National Team and affiliates last month. 

"It was truly an honor to host a dinner for the United States National Handball Team at the house of the Alpha-Delta chapter of Sigma Pi at Auburn University," said Sigma Pi president, Denson Dean. "It was a very unique experience for our brothers to interact with the team and their coach. It is an even bigger honor to say that Eric Finch, one of the team members, is a brother from our chapter."

The team was greeted with a large sign that said "Welcome USA Team Handball" upon entering the house, and enjoyed a great meal prepared by the fraternity brothers.

"We were so grateful for the opportunity to have dinner with and meet many of the members of the Sigma Pi fraternity," fellow goalkeeper Gabe Goodreau said. "They greeted us with an awesome banner on the front of the house and even a slow clap when we walked into the dining room. We, as members of the USA Handball Residency Program, are trying to immerse ourselves in the community of Auburn so the sport can grow, and community events, such as this one, can open up more opportunity for such growth."

Auburn University became the home of the USA Team Handball Residency Program in August 2013. Since then, men and women in the program have enrolled as students at the university, students of Auburn have joined the residency program, and Auburn University formed a club handball team. Finch even serves as Vice President and captain of the club.

"The USA [Handball] Team is fortunate to have Eric Finch as a part of our Residency Program," says Player-Coach Mark Ortega. "Since most of our guys are from all over the world, it was nice to get some home cooked lasagna and salad after our practice. We hope it's a tradition that continues for years to come."