SPORTS

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January 31, 2003

IM Insider

Under the pleasant glow of the fluorescent lights at Henry Crown Field House teams continued to do battle this week. Their competition strayed from the normal University of Chicago attentiveness to text and detail. Instead, it was the proper mixture of sweat, emotion, skill, and blood that would determine the victors. The orange orbs that seem oddly yellow under the lights fly through the air simultaneously from three courts during the hours of competition. Each team is intent on defeating its opposition on the court, but also cautiously eyeing the other teams on adjacent hardwood or odd linoleum.

Thus far the chief complaint among participants is not the odd glow that this writer seems overly concerned with. Rather, concern bubbled quickly to the surface over the poor-quality officiating that plagues the basketball games. "We really gotta go over these rules at the beginning of the season," one player grumbled loudly as he ran up the court. His frustration was justifiable. During one game, a rash of calls made by officials mystified, horrified, and infuriated participants. Another player insisted after the game that, "These people have got to do a better job."

Thankfully, though, officials in this basketball league are not like those in the National Basketball Association. Our officials may make bad calls, but they are not confrontational or insistent regarding accepts the veracity of their calls. They just seem mystified about the rules of the game. Their goal, however, is noble, and players are learning to deal with the problem calls out of respect for the effort the officials are expending. After all, no matter the teams involved, the (allegedly) errant calls, or the sagging offensive outputs, each participant in this yearly ritual is in competition with the University, trying to juggle his attention to detail in academia with the difficult alchemy of converting the previously mentioned sweat, emotion, skill, and blood (lead) into an IM Basketball t-shirt (spun gold).

For the men, the team to beat, until proven fallible, is the Freshmen Soccer Ballers. Without a score in from this week, their victory last Thursday over the Kings of the Court by a score of 109-21 remains the standard for excellence in the league. The fast-break-oriented offense of the Freshmen Soccer players usually involves their point guard playing defense at the three-point line and starting the fast break as soon as the opposition launches a shot. The result is too many quick and easy baskets for Freshmen Soccer, whose team seldom tires as a result of their excellent conditioning.

The Wallace men also look ferocious. Their 73-36 defeat of Matthews was heavily celebrated. It must be the inspiration that they derive from their pink lounge. However, their team suffered a devastating defeat at the hands of Vincent House on Monday, 61-41. By extension, this makes Vincent 57 points better than Matthews, and places them in the same league as Freshmen Soccer. I haven't decided yet if they're better. See my rankings inside to see what I decide.

Proving that they don't burst under pressure, the Durex Trojans scored an easy victory over Tufts house, defeating the Pierce Tower residents by 48 points, 66-18.

The Law I team looks formidable this year, defeating the Rainmakers, 76-38. Their team did not respond to inquiries about whether litigation was brewing to have the 38 points scored by the opposition taken away on technicalities. I wouldn't doubt for a second, though, that they've got a law school professor looking into it for them.

The men from Hitchcock-Snell posted a redemptive win over the Compton Fighting Kiwis, after a tough loss last week. The final score of 50-41 brought little solace for a team that began the season looking for an undefeated championship year.

Turning briefly to the women, Filby looks like the team to beat after scoring a 42-8 victory over Alper. Their smothering defense did not allow Alper a clean look at the basket all night.

Hitchcock-Snell also looks formidable, after a hard-fought victory over Flint, winning 27-20.

The season is long, though the games are not, so much drama will drive the season as it continues to keep us enthralled during these winter months. Luckily, we've got the Field House lights to keep the hardwood heroes and University warm as they compete for the ultimate glory.

Rankings:

Men:

1) Vincent

2) Freshman Soccer

3) Durex Trojans

4) Homewreckers

5) Hale

Best of the rest:

Wallace, May, Law I

Women:

1) Filby

2) May

3) Hitchcock-Snell

4) Graham

5) The Scoops

Best of the rest:

Theta Kites, Chicago Soccer, Flint