It's a Wednesday night and you're walking by the intramural fields - that large patch of grass in between C-Lot and the 1500 to 1700 blocks of the apartments. A flash of bright colors races across the field amidst yells, chants and screams from many girls. Girls viciously compete in a game of soccer. Pass, kick, score - one team goes wild while the other falls silent. It's an intramural night.
The IM fields are probably one of my favorite places on campus. During the fall, the crisp air is refreshing as you sprint downfield looking for the opportunity to score a goal. The field is a glorified playground for students. Sports teams practice here, intramural games take place here and other students lazily flick a Frisbee around or toss a football, just enjoying the atmosphere. On warm spring days, people will be milling around, tanning and grilling out.
But I digress. The IM field is an arena for weekly battles much like those in the Colosseum, and easily transports me back to my high school sports days.
I love intramurals, plain and simple. As a former varsity athlete, I miss the team competition that I thrived on during my high school years. From my favorite sport, basketball, to the most random and obscure sports like handball (seriously, who plays that?) and racquetball, my competitive streak comes out.
I thrive with my sisters cheering me on and congratulating me during the thrill of a win, and I appreciate their solace and encouragement during the anguish of a loss. Win or lose, I am so lucky to be a part of a team again with my sorority.
Everyone roots for the underdog - it's human nature. People want to see the miracle, the dark horse candidate, the long shot, the Cinderella story. Well, I think that my sorority is this year's Cinderella story.
There is this girl in my sorority who epitomizes spirit, intensity, pride and athleticism to the core. She has spent her college career bringing us up from dead-last overall during her freshman year, to overall CHAMPIONS by more than 300 points this year.
Dedication could be her middle name - she attends, coaches and plays in every single game that she can, as long as it does not interfere with academics, of course. Her knowledge of all intramural sports has led to several playoff berths and championships.
Last year, we lost intramurals overall by one single point during the last game of the season - softball. That loss stung like salt on a wound. We vowed that the 2008-2009 intramural season was our season. The 2008-09 intramural is now officially our season, now that we have finally, after long and fierce battles, claimed the title of champions.
Now even if we were not intramural champions, I would write a column praising intramurals. Not only do intramurals bring former athletes together to relive the glory days of high school sports and competition, but it also fosters a bond within teams. I would not have gotten to know some of these girls so well if it were not for those games we had twice a week, all semester. Flag football, tennis, racquetball, soccer and volleyball in the fall; basketball, a swim meet, soccer again, floor hockey and softball in the spring.
People's dedication to intramurals could rival that of club and varsity athletes. Yes, not everyone practices for intramurals, but does that mean the dedication is less significant? Recently, we played dodgeball short one person. We saw one of our sisters at the game, but not in athletic clothes. Desperate, we sought her out and made her play with us. Turns out, she was the last player standing and won dodgeball for us, wearing jeans... and UGGs. Sure, she could have said no and ran away faster than Usain Bolt in the 100-meter dash in the Olympics, but her dedication to the sorority and our desire to win made her stay and reluctantly play.
There are so many stories from a single intramural game. Sometimes they involve an uncoordinated, flying leap to score the winning basket and sometimes they involve an unfortunate timing of events that results in a ball to the face. These memories definitely stick with you, unlike some of those hazy ones from Pig Roast.
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Intramurals combine the best of both worlds: the competition I desire from high school days in a laid-back environment without the nagging coaches, overzealous soccer moms, frustrated and angry dads, mandatory Saturday morning practices (who would want to run sprints at 9 a.m. after a Lodge?) and the ill-fitting, mostly ugly uniforms of high school.
But one thing that remains the same, both in high school and college, is the satisfaction of a win. But not any win. The sweet satisfaction of winning a championship is almost too hard to describe. Imagine every inspirational sports movie - Rudy, Hoosiers, Rocky, Field of Dreams, and even The Mighty Ducks. Now combine all of the climactic moments together and that adrenaline rush mixed with a swell of pride that you feel is what it feels like to win a championship.
Although intramurals do not draw in sold-out arenas or have apparel to sport (except for those championship T-shirts), the fan base is there. It is there within the chapters of fraternities and sororities. It is there within the residence halls and other sports teams that compete. It is there within the bonds of friendship when friends team up for some friendly competition. Intramurals bring people together while enjoying all that intramural sports offer.
Now we are free to blast that anthem that so many teams pump out of loudspeakers after championships: Queen's "We Are the Champions." And I think it is safe to say that after battling for so long (close to 15 years), we are finally the champions. "We are the champions, my friends/And we'll keep on fighting 'til the end/We are the champions/We are the champions."
Contact reporter Emila Vogler at email@example.com
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