Sweat drips down your face. Fourth and goal. You were born for this.
The ball is hiked and you sprint towards the end zone. You fake to the sidelines, then make a quick cut to the middle of the field. The quarterback, under duress, is forced to throw a wobbling pass seemingly out of reach. The safety barrels toward you as you make a dive for the ball falling to the ground. The ball plummets into your fingertips as the safety lays you out. Holding on to the ball tightly, you drop into the end zone. As the final second ticks away, Super Bowl XXXXIII is yours. What a time to make the game-winning catch in your contract year. Big salary, endorsement deals, shoe contracts, bedroom alarm clock’s ringing. Wait.
For those of us who are too lazy or too sane to try and catch our dreams of playing college sports, salvation comes with intramural sports. While our dreams of ever playing in the pros fell to the wayside as we walked off the field in high school, we can still show off our skills.
While it’s not the same as lining up on the field with dreams still firmly in hand, fighting for the state championship, the thrill of competition is still there. Just as in high school, there’s still an opponent to line up against, a tough chopper to handle, a puck to put through the five hole, an ace to serve and a ball to spike in the opponent’s face while you tell them who their daddy is. Well, some of us are better winners than others.
With a myriad of sports to play, there is no excuse for trying to lose those 15 pounds you’ve gained over the summer. If you played a sport in high school, chances are there’s an intramural equivalent. What better way to spend an hour or two with your buddies than by playing a sport you love, then sitting back for the next seven hours with a beer in hand, telling every hot freshman that you scored five touchdowns today? That’s right, cowboy – chicks dig intramural stories.
But the best part of intramural sports is the diversity of their participants. Powder puff was never part of my high school, but any girl that wants to play intramural football can play. Gender has no effect on who can play intramurals; nor does ability level. And if you want to show off how badass you are to that hottie friend you’ve always wanted to go a round or two with, coed sports is the way to do it.
The different levels of competitiveness provide a lot of choice for the participants. If an athlete wants to try to relive past glory, novice leagues offer enough of a challenge to bring back the competitive juices. For the more relaxed, beginner, out-of-shape or alcoholic players, casual leagues also exist.
Intramurals also offer sports that even UCSB athletics do not. You could never fall into the end zone with the game-winning score at UCSB, because Santa Barbara doesn’t have a football team. Traveling to Cal Poly for the Big West kickball championship isn’t a possibility, either, until the nation realizes the untapped diamond in the rough they have yet to uncover. Until that day comes, intramurals are the only organized kickball action that will be seen around campus.
Even undeclared freshman Joe Schmoe can be a hero for a day. There is no better experience than seeing someone who has never played a sport before do well. Many people have fallen in love with sports after having played an intramural – it’s addicting.
Ten years from now, chances are there won’t be a Fox Sports “Beyond the Glory” special about your intramural team, but the memories will last a lifetime. Despite all his success in the NFL, Joe Montana still recounts as one of his fondest memories the time that his intramural basketball team beat members of the Notre Dame basketball team.
But, of course, the best part of intramural sports is the time spent with friends. You get to spend an hour each week bonding with your best friends, and have something to talk about for the next week, month or lifetime.
We all have heard our parents’ lies – ahem, stories – of past glory; now is the chance to make up our own. When the games are all said and done, you can sit back on your friend’s couch with your beverage of preference in hand, and be satisfied that even in your hung over state, you were able to hold your own for an hour without puking. True.