By JAMIE VERWYS
The necessity of regular fitness is undisputed. A weekly total of 150 minutes of moderate physical activity reduces the risk of health problems, according to physical activity guidelines set by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
In a world crowded with midterms and work hours, how does the average student find those weekly minutes? What if we look at fitness as a game instead of a taxing life requirement?
These are the very questions Pima Community College alumnus Isaac Tavares asked.
Tavares, a graduate of the Eller College of Management at the University of Arizona, created a social game to help athletes become better in sport and fitness endeavors.
SportKore is a social networking website designed to motivate people to become fitter, faster and healthier. Once the site’s beta testing launches on May 29, users will be able to create a profile, connect with others and have fun completing exercise challenges for points.
“The vision is to unite the world through sports and fitness while having plenty of fun,” Tavares said. “Why not turn it into a game? Working out doesn’t just have to be about work.”
Tavares’ journey began in 2008, when he left the U.S. Army after serving as an infantryman in two tours in Iraq.
He dedicated himself to his education and began to knock out basic classes at Pima. After graduating in two years, he transferred to UA.
Mike Lopez, student life coordinator of Downtown Campus, remembers Tavares’ time at Pima.
“Isaac was a student that showed the desire to use Pima to connect and continue his education but also understood the importance of connecting with people while pursuing his education,” Lopez said.
“I am so proud and happy that Isaac is continuing to grow and develop as a student and total person,” Lopez added.
Tavares began to conceptualize SportKore in January 2013, when he realized his own fitness had gone to the backburner after leaving the military.
“There’s a word called ‘gamification’ out there right now,” he said. “It’s including game mechanics into your daily life to try and make your activities more fun. I try to apply that same type of idea to fitness.”
As CEO and sole founder of the site, Tavares has dedicated considerable time to SportKore but lots of work remains to be done.
He is currently recruiting interns to join him as marketing agents. Interns will assist with social media, promoting SportKore and conducting marketing research.
“If they are into business, it’s helpful to get that experience and shadow someone going through the process,” Tavares said.
The internship will conclude May 29, but summer internships are a possibility.
Tavares will launch a crowdfunding campaign March 12-April 30 on IndieGoGo.com, where supporters can donate to the cause. “Perk packages” are available for donations ranging from $5 to $500. A $25 donation gives the donor lifetime access to the SportKore site.
As someone who has been through the Pima experience, Tavares offers advice to college students.
“Start building your own brand,” he said. “Don’t be afraid to throw yourself out there because you never know where that might lead.”
For more information, visit Sportkore.com and sign up for its email newsletter. Those interested in interning may send their resume to firstname.lastname@example.org.