By Charles Pratt
Maryville College’s intramural basketball league tipped off March 9th in Cooper Athletic Center here on campus, and this year’s league includes a diversity of students, as well as many talented teams.
“My outlook is just to have fun and go out there and compete a little bit,” senior Dakota Jenkins said.
That response embodies the competitive, but fun loving nature of MC Intramurals.
“Me and my squad are really just in it for the love of the game,” said freshman Blaise Chait. “We want to compete in safe and honorable way, and we are really looking forward to getting to work.”
That safe, competitive, and enjoyable atmosphere is what leaders of the intramural program envision for students.
“We’re trying to build community,” said Josh Anderson, who is an alumnus of Maryville College and MC’s head intramural coordinator. “In addition to that, we are trying to provide a good setting for people to come together and enjoy each other’s company… In the process we want to give students a chance to be healthy and provide some physical activity for everybody.”
The spirits are high for intramural basketball season, and this could be one of the best years the college has seen.
“This year we are looking at fourteen teams which is probably the most we have ever had here at Maryville,” Brady Brown said, who is an organizer, referee, and participant in intramurals at MC. “Most of last year’s championship team graduated, so a new team is going to be up and running.”
“I know there are a lot of good teams out there, so it will be really competitive,” said Dylan Placher, who is captain of his intramural team. “That makes it even more fun.”
Placher’s team, “White Boyz Can Jump”, and the team “Elite Dreams” are favorites to win the championship this year.
A new addition to the intramural basketball season is that each team will sport regulation jerseys.
“It’s something I’m really excited about for multiple reasons,” Anderson said. “It’s going to be a lot easier to keep stats, and it gives a game like feel to each basketball game.”
While intramurals are all about fun, many talented players will step foot on the court during this year’s intramural basketball season.
“We’ve got allot of guys that are very competitive, and we have some guys who actually used to play for the school,” Anderson said.
“I think I’ve got eight or nine men who are trying to win,” sophomore team captain of the Dunking Ducks Nick Myers said. “We’ve come up with our motto ‘we’re not here for a long time, we’re here for a good time’.”
Within the ranks of players to keep an eye on are many college athletes as well as non-athletes.
“The recruiting process was long and difficult,” explained Myers. “One of the guys I’ve got is Zeke Koko who brings an intimidation factor to the game and can really handle the ball well.”
“One of our biggest impact players is Austin Newton,” Chait said. “While he is somewhat undersized, he is a fierce competitor and that’s what we love about him.”
The battle in the paint will also be competitive as many teams claim players of large size.
“We are going to foul hard and make sure nobody scores on us in the paint,” commented Jenkins.
“Joey Bodewig is a 6’9” center who should dominate in post play for us,” Placher said.
Though the obvious goal is to win, most participants play because they enjoy the game of basketball.
“I like the scheming part of basketball,” explained Brown. “It’s all about who you are playing and the tempo of each team.”
“My favorite part of the game is all the smack talking,” Jenkins said.
The comradery that comes from participating in athletics is also a draw for students.
“You have come together if you want to form a team and compete in a sport,” explained Anderson. “We have a lot of different people and beliefs on this campus, but one thing that is consistent is that most people enjoy being active.”
Keeping in mind that none of the participants are professional basketball players, most students can look at their mistakes comically. Harmless fouls, air balls, excessive missed shots, and failed attempts to dunk the ball are all part of a positive intramural experience.
“My favorite part of basketball is most definitely watching Austin Newton try to grab the rim,” Chait joked.
“I personally love to shoot the ball,” Placher said. “My motto is that a shooter has to keep shooting.”
“Other than all the showboating, my favorite part of intramural basketball is watching Daniel Blevins face progressively get to where it is beet red and full of anger and hatred,” kidded Myers.
With the varying talent levels of each team, expectations of this year’s season ranges from confident to expecting to lose.
“I expect my team to really struggle to score,” explained Chait. “Where I’m sitting right now looking at the season, I think we are really going to struggle to win at least one game,” he went on to say. “With that being said, I think we could be that sleeping bear type of team.”
“We are here to win, that’s the bottom line, and we are going to win,” Myers said.
Though there will be several standout players, talent levels will range from novice to veteran, and that fact pleases the organizers of the program.
“We try to bring all kinds of different students out,” Brown said. “The majority of our school is composed of athletes, but the intramurals main goal is to try to include non-athletes and get them active.”
Every student is encouraged to participate in intramurals here at Maryville. While it is too late to sign up for basketball, it is never too late to come support your fellow classmates as they compete on the court.