The University of Mount Olive Trojans and the Barton College Bulldogs are known for their intense rivalry, especially on the basketball court.
However, the teams are competing in a new way, and it’s to help save lives.
Both teams, and the Rotary clubs located in their respective hometowns, will be competing to sign up the most Be the Match registrants in January and February.
Be the Match is operated by the National Marrow Donor Program, which seeks to match DNA donors with patients with blood cancers, sickle cell anemia and other diseases.
Rotary of Mount Olive, UMO Trojan student athletes and UMO honors students will sponsor a Be the Match registration event during the UMO-Barton basketball games Wednesday, Jan. 16, in Kornegay Arena beginning at 5 p.m.
Game time for the women is 5:30 p.m. The men’s game will begin at 7:30.
Be the Match volunteers can register at any time before or during the games. Registration will be via cellphone, and it only takes a few minutes.
A second Be the Match event will be held at Barton College when the UMO teams travel to Wilson on Tuesday, Feb. 12.
The registry there will be sponsored by the Greater Wilson Rotary Club and Barton Athletics.
When both registration events are completed, the numbers will be tallied, and the institution with the largest number of registrants will be declared the winner of the competition.
However, the real winner will be the person or persons who may benefit from a match in the registry, organizers said.
Since about 430 registrants are needed in order to find a match, this competition is aiming at saving two lives — that means 860 registrants.
“This is a unique opportunity for our students, faculty and staff and the local community to register for this worthwhile program and then be able to watch exciting college basketball games,” said Jeff Eisen, UMO vice president for athletics.
“Our Student-Athlete Advisory Committee and the Honors Program, along with the Rotary Club of Mount Olive, sponsored a registration event last year, but have taken it to the next level by combining it with basketball games and making it a challenge event with Barton.”
Everyone between the ages of 18 and 44 is encouraged to attend the games and register for Be the Match. Older and younger fans are also invited to attend the games.
Participants will certainly see the rival basketball teams compete, and their DNA may save a life, organizers said.
All registrants will receive free custard, courtesy of Hwy 55 Burgers, Shakes and Fries.
For more details about the Be the Match competition, contact Barbara Kornegay at firstname.lastname@example.org.