Most folks are familiar with the traditional rituals of fall: scuffing through scattered leaves under the colorful canopy composed of their quietly dying brethren, gleefully stealing an hour from our teachers and employers, taking candI mean, giving ghoulish, hideously-dressed kids candy and then leaving class to head home and give more to the neighborhood children, and eagerly awaiting the pleasures of food coma and Thursday NFL games that come with Thanksgiving.
What may be less obvious under the radiant cloak of nationally sanctioned nostalgia these rituals weave, is that autumn, more than any other season, is the season of whining.
While I may seem to hold an exceptionally biased view due to my position as a scribbler of the sporting classes, taking a moment to reflect on the past week should prove the clear-sightedness of my observation. Midterms came and went, but not before spawning an orgy of grumble and complaint.
Surely you witnessed students sweltering on the A-level and cursing everything and everyone connected with CompSci 105 and 115, Apple Computers, and the developers of the Scheme programming language? If you didn't, then perhaps you found yourself at Pierce sitting next to that guy who didn't wash for a couple days and bemoaned how much work he had to do even though he was approaching his second hour in the dining hall? If you were fortunate enough to avoid either of these sights, you almost certainly observed countless students swilling coffee at ungodly hours and making grim remarks about their lack of preparation, their evil, Fu-Manchu-like TA's vendetta against them, the contradiction posed by the moral indefensibility of the Chicago School of Economics and their need to ace the 198 exam, and their secret desire to be at a state school.
If you failed to notice any of this, you can only have been a complainer yourself. No, you say? You lie, and do not deserve to read this column. I bet you did just great on that econ midterm.
Widespread as the grousing was (and remains), it was most obvious on and near the field of play. Several teams, coincidentally located in Palevsky, bent the Insider's ears with their clamorous howling in the wake of last week's rankings. The object of their wrath was my first-place ranking of Graham House, as well as pitiful excuses for early season losses along the lines of "we were missing players" or "we play in a difficult league."
A difficult league? Didn't you see Fight Club? Envision the various campus houses as so many skinny and angry young white men and the Midway as a seedy basement reeking of urine and humid with the sweat of pugilistic ardor, and you will understand that every league is "tough." Even lowly Alper House might be an Ed Norton-in-waiting.
Other teams clearly did see Fight Club, possibly after a screening of the Mad Max trilogy, brought that swagger to their game, and were reduced to whining after being forced to face up to the limits of their toughness. Fans who braved Sunday's cold were treated to a particularly spirited (if by spirited you understand physical, cheap-shot filled) game between Dodd-Mead and Broadview, and the even bigger spectacle of a full-blown meltdown on the Dodd-Mead sideline that featured one player getting restrained by his teammate as he directed the most ferocious scowls and yelling at Broadview and the refs. Admittedly, the referee did make a bad call as I arrived to see what the ruckus was all about, and he followed it up with a bad no-call, but last I checked, the IM refs do not wear zebra stripes. This is another way of saying they are not professionals, just as IM players are not professionals.
A Dodd-Mead fan summed up the situation best when she looked over at the team and said, "Stop whining already!" I would add, intensity makes for great games but keep in mind: you live in Dodd-Mead house, ensconced in the protective embrace of the University of Chicago, swaddled in two blankets of police protection, within one of the finer neighborhoods in the city. There is nothing hard-core about you, so relax, and have fun playing the game.
Fortunately, the Woodward-Alper game offered a welcome respite from the week's cries of "injustice" as the Woodies came through with a convincing 39-12 thumping of Alper to prove they still had a spot in the rankings. Alper put a up a good fight, particularly considering they had about 10 fewer players than their opponents, and they even boasted one of the largest groups of fans at the Midway. The second-half brought too much Woodward, however, as their defense increased the pressure on Alper's quarterback and forced several interceptions. The most spectacular of these was made by Bob Lucero, who rose up from the crowd and sacrificed two ribs to make the pick, which the Woodies quickly turned into another six points. The defensive effort, anchored late in the game by the quickness of a player known only as "the Shadow," was greatly assisted by John Henry Smith, whose booming kicks kept Alper pinned deep in their own territory.
Woodward is locked in a tight fight with Flint for the final playoff spot in their league, but Flint crushed Shorey, 33-7 and has the tiebreak over Woodward. The tiebreak may not matter though, since Flint will a need a win over second-ranked Dodd-Mead to secure their playoff berth.
Week Four rankings (keep in mind, some games have yet to be played)
1. AtropinePasted Hale House 50-0. Grad leagues get their due.
2. Dodd-MeadDispatched Broadview 26-12. Best MUGR team right now.
3. VincentThis week will see if they prove worthy of the ranking.
4. Bishop-Phi Slamma JammaNarrow win last week suggests vulnerability.
6. GrahamTook care of previously ranked May, 20-12. Suffer from strength-of-schedule.
7. Walk-OnsAlso blessed with a light schedule.
8. Pritzker SomitesKnocked off Shucky-Duckey 27-22. Quick team and play in deep grad league.
9. FlintChris Nosko vows, "We're coming on strong."
10. The Fighting Kiwis of ComptonThe untouchables of the coed league, beat Coulter 28-0.
11. WoodwardStrength of this team is its spirit and the deepest bench in IMs.
12. Monkey MafiaCaged by Man in the Yellow Hat (CHI-GSB) 46-26 last week.
Other news of note: Rickert slips out of the rankings with a dismal 20-9 loss to Bury the Biscuit. In the women's league, Supapigs brought an end to Apathy's years of IM dominance, with a 7-6 victory last week, and the Broadview women spanked Alper 36-7.
1. Woodward (W)Continued their undefeated run with win over May 15-7, 15-1
2. May (M)Avenge the loss of their women's team at expense of Filbey, 15-8, 15-3
3. Pike (M)Thanks to forfeit by Hitchcock-Snell, stay undefeated.
4. Graham (W)Knock Hitchcock-Snell women out of the rankings with close 15-6, 6-15, 15-13 win.