Every basketball player, from the backyard to the NCAA, has the same dream. The seconds are ticking away in the last game in the NBA finals. You get the ball . . . five . . . four . . . three . . . You shoot. The ball swishes through the net. The crowd goes wild. Your teammates carry you off the court on their shoulders. You triumphantly cut down the net. The scenario was only a little bit different Monday night at Hutchinson Gymnasium, as College sophomore Joe Menashe scored a last second basket for Mo' Better, who was playing Brick and the Fatman. From the intensity, you might have assumed that the NBA crown rested on the game. But Monday night, as every night at Hutch during basketball season, the game was just part of another round of intramural basketball. But from the warm-ups and pre-game huddles to the constant barrage of advice from those on the sidelines, intramural basketball can be so intense that it sometimes doesn't look so intramural. "I still get a stomach-ache when we're warming up for every game, just like high school, even though it's only intramurals," said College senior Patrick Fitzsimonds, a member of the A.K.A. team. The largest intramural sport at the University, basketball attracts over 1000 undergraduates every year -- and is even forced to turn some away. "Kids are asking, 'Well, when can we play basketball down at Hutch?' " John Hamrick, Assistant Director of Recreation, said this week. "If you can't play during the day, you're out of luck. Every spare hour at that gym is being used for intramural basketball." "[We're] not able to accomodate everyone," added Hamrick, who is in charge of all intramural sports. "Unfortunately, there were about 35 teams we didn't have space for." But for the students who do get to play in the intramural leagues, the games provide competition and release. "It's a good release from your studies to get out there and run around," said Wharton sophomore Frank Pugilese. He added that he even plays for two teams -- his fraternity team and an independent team. "I love to play ball," College junior John Hollway said. "I'm no good and that makes it even more fun." Aner Garmendia, a College junior, said that he likes to "get out and get in shape . . . and score some points if I can." Yet once the ball is tipped off, the exercise is not the only thing on these students' minds. The pushing and shoving and swearing is reminiscent of the roughest pro game. The old adage, "Winning isn't everything," does not seem to apply to most of the students out on the Hutch floor. "I'm intense," admitted Pugilese. "I want to win. That's the name of the game." "It gets intense because you want to win," Hollway added. "This is the most intense [of all intramural sports]," Hamrick agreed. This year, due to a lack of funds, the Athletic Department decided not to hire any officials, Hamrick said. Instead, students must call their own fouls. "A lot of people get fiesty and take it seriously but I guess that's good," said Wharton junior Dean Anthon. "This year, you call your own fouls and get angry at the other team instead of the refs." Jeanine McHugh, a College junior and one of the few spectators in attendance, said she comes to cheer on her friends. She added that her friends take the games very seriously. "They talk about it, they look forward to it, they get psyched," she said. "They really want to win." After the games are over, McHugh said, "for the rest of the night they'll talk about it." All of this intensity and competition is for a championship and the prize of a squeeze bottle or a hip bag -- something more must motivate the players. Pride. "DeKE is the team to beat and they beat us last year by two points so we're gunning for them," said Wharton junior Jason Battaglia, who is already looking ahead to the playoffs where his independent team may meet the fraternity. And if the regular season games seem intense, the consensus among players from different teams is that the playoffs are "out of control." "In the playoffs . . . it gets so intense," said Fitzsimonds. "Everyone wants to win so bad." "In the playoffs, I get really serious," agreed Battaglia, whose intensity was evident Monday night in his team's victory. But a few of the players manage to keep the whole intramural experience in perspective. "It's fun," said College sophomore Greg Klein, a player for Mo' Better, who was sidelined during the first half of his game due to an apparent ankle sprain. Klein added that the "temporary satisfaction" he receives is "more for when I'm out here, not really after." "For me, every game is competitive, but we're not wearing uniforms and the whole school's not watching," said Dan Brown, a College sophomore. "Some people lose sight of that," he added, referring to a small fight that broke out during the game in which he was playing. · The basketball world may never hear a word about it, but chances are Joe Menashe will never forget his basket at the buzzer. Menashe's last-second basket gave his team 49 points for the game. Unfortunately, the last second basket was too little, too late, as the other team had already scored 69. Asked to comment, Menashe said with a smile, "intramurals suck."Comments powered by Disqus
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