Forty days ago, the students of this University converged once again in Hyde Park at the start of a new quarter. Their minds and bodies rested and souls rejuvenated, their single thought, as fresh calendars were mounted onto walls, was that a return to school was imminent.
Like noble knights they arrived, albeit not on trusty steeds. They arrived in their parents' cars, driven in from nearby. Some came in poorly driven taxicabs after being certified as non-terrorists and allowed to fly into Chicago. Better yet, some drove themselves, sheltered from the wind and cold by a '93 Honda rusted on every side, whose primary function during the week is to protect the asphalt of University boulevards from the elements.
Once safely unpacked, the aim became clearer. No longer did these students seek to return to Hyde Park. They were here. And once here they took a deep breath of air. Not too deep. To inhale too deeply in the winter here when first exiting a warm area causes the back of the throat to become immensely irritated, and a sharp cough rises through the offended windpipe. No, they inhaled just deeply enough to taste and smell the air. When they did that, they realized that it was time for intramural basketball.
To the field house they went. Hordes of them. Anyone who could identify the taste in the air flocked there to train. There was a line of them at the door. The varsity athletes guarding the entrance swiped IDs, having to go through the painstaking process of clicking an unexplained button with the mouse after each intramural athlete was certified by the computer. Swipe. Pause. Click. Next. Swipe. Pause. Click. Next. For an entire shift one varsity athlete had to repeat this process.
"I couldn't get any work done," the anonymous worker complained at the beginning of second week. "The IM players just kept on coming. I know it probably would have been faster if I put down my book and used one hand to swipe and one hand to click, but I kept on holding out hope that they would let up. Nope, it didn't happen. Now I am behind on my reading in all my classes."
With the torrent of IM players flooding the gymnasium, some staffers have noticed a change from years past.
"The IM teams this year are good," marveled the worker as she tried to catch up on work while working a shift during third week, "I mean, with the exception of everyone who isn't, all the players are really toned and buff."
Indeed, the quality of play is something to be marveled at, though for some teams, all their marveling keeps them from being competitive.
"Yeah, I guess some of the teams suck this year," the worker said, "I guess I haven't seen so many people come in of late. I was thinking it was because of midterms and stuff, but I guess some of those guys finally realized that they aren't any good."
So, with narrow focus, we see the battles of this week draw to a close. The cream is starting to rise to the top. That metaphor is rather inept, though, for an examination of IM sports, as teams with better conditioning are distancing themselves from their lumpier competition. Better conditioning is crucial, as the wear of the quarter affects those in worse shape to a greater degree. Here is a recap of the separation occurring in the fresh milk of our glorious league. I leave it to the philosophy and English departments to determine how the metaphor applies here.
First, the men:
Hoover House almost tripled the Kings of the Court, defeating them 63-23. One Hoover House player commented after the game that their competition's name had to have been drafted in jest.
The Graham House faithful were dunking each other in milk after preemptive annihilation of Henderson House. Rumor has it that the Henderson team couldn't even make it to the field house, and were found nearby covered in a sticky mixture of roasted marshmallow and melted chocolate. These rumors are unsubstantiated, but Graham indisputably earned the victory by forfeit.
Snell-Hitchcock absorbed a painful loss to Maclean, losing 57-46. The up-and-down season has no doubt been a disappointment for a team that many experts predicted would rule the league.
In a defensive battle, Bishop House eked out a victory over Coulter House, winning 25-22. After each blocked shot, the winning team's center taunted his opponents, telling them "don't bring that near my castle."
Flint House was simply too big for the Wallace House team, and demolished them with a 69-25 victory. Wallace House members were so nervous early in the week that they illegally recruited the IM Insider to play center for them. No thanks, boys. The IM Insider doesn't cheat and is glad to see that you got your just deserts.
And now, the women:
The Graham House women were slightly friendlier toward the opposing team this week than their testosterone-laden counterparts. Alper House made it to the building in time for tip-off. Subsequently, however, Graham was less kind, sending Alper away with a 59-12 loss.
Filby House and B-J United fought in an epic battle. The score was close throughout, but Filby emerged with a 27-21 victory.
Finally, May House, celebrating the birth of their RH's daughter, crushed Woodward House 44-26. "I just want to say thank you to the fans," May House starting center Jen Paruch said. "We won this for Ana Sofia!"
Soon, the field will narrow, and we will be able to crown a champion. Until then, the field is open, and only fate and time will tell the tale of victory for one team.
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