>>> Balls to the Wall
By staff writer Dan Opp
December 7, 2005

At the dawn of time, the aim of intramural sports was to provide a safe and fun outlet for college gentlemen to share some healthy competition and bask in the glow of each other’s mostly exposed, pale, white legs. Unfortunately, it seems that many of today’s college students have lost touch with this concept, as it was drafted in much simpler times, before women and minorities were allowed to further their educations. Fortunately, intramurals (and gym shorts) have evolved from their primitive, ambiguously homosexual beginnings, but remain a popular source of fun and exercise for all. With all respect to this common ideal, everybody approaches intramurals differently. If you play enough intramural sports, you’re bound to encounter various distinct species of intramural athlete, many of which I’ve observed and catalogued below.

Highschooljockodon: By far the most prevalent intramural species, the highschooljockodon is easily identified by the “Catholic Football” t-shirt or “North Soccer” polyester sweater spanning his chest. He is a fierce competitor and often lashes out at those of lesser skill who wander into his territory. The highschooljockodon plays intramurals to fill the void of glories past and strives for nothing less than a championship. I…COUGH, excuse me…HE also refuses to seek therapy for his issues with accepting failure and moving on with his life.

“Proceed with caution in the presence of professorus geriatrus, as winning an intramural game does not satisfactorily offset failing a class.”

Nawvus: On the opposite end of the spectrum from the highschooljockodon lies the nawvus. This verbiage is appropriate, as the nawvus can often be found face-down on the playing surface due to poor equilibrium. When not slowly climbing back to an upright position, the nawvus can be spotted holding a hockey stick in the double-overhand grip or punishing an unwary backboard with ill-fated jump shots. What the nawvus lacks in skill, he makes up for with childish innocence; thus he remains one of the most endearing species in the intramural kingdom.

Insti gator: Trademarked by his erratic behavior, the insti gator will defend his territory at all costs. Modern science cannot definitively explain the reasons for his overtly aggressive behavior, but the prevailing theory is that he fights to mask his own feelings of inadequacy. When challenged, the insti gator will puff out his chest and stand on the balls of his feet so as to make himself appear more physically imposing, but will typically wait until his opponent is on the ground or looking the other way before engaging in battle. The insti gator is known for claiming that his rival combatants were “being assholes,” yet it is he who gets in a fight every game.

Specimen #69: Whether it’s a flock of flag football players or a school of slow-pitch softballers, every intramural group invariably contains one these specimens. Yet to be officially categorized, specimen #69 was usually the last to find out about the corresponding maneuver, and has maintained a juvenile fascination with the number ever since, as he was likely denied the pornographic rites to adulthood during his adolescent years. Specimen #69 will characteristically flaunt his distinguishable jersey and giggle nervously at any reference to mating habits.

Homo playsdowntowin: Often seen strutting around proudly in his intramural champions t-shirt, homo playsdowntowin fronts the air of a mighty champion, when in fact he shies away from true competition at all costs. Homo playsdowntowin typically wasn’t good enough to make the cut in high school, so he relishes victory, even if he has to beat Chinese grad students in basketball to attain it. Homo playsdowntowin spends much of his life feeding voraciously on the weaker nawvus species, while highschooljockodon lurks hungrily in the bushes, patiently waiting for his chance to feast.

Professorus geriatrus: One of the rarest species in the intramural kingdom, professorus geriatrus is typified by his patchy body hair, Rec Specs® brand goggles, and disturbingly overactive sweat glands. A generally harmless species, professorus geriatrus is slow-footed and stiff, and can frequently be seen exhibiting primitive behaviors, such as the hook shot. Proceed with caution in the presence of professorus geriatrus, despite his generally tame nature, as winning an intramural game does not satisfactorily offset failing a class.

Hopefully, as more is learned about these species and more varieties of intramural athlete are discovered, we will come to understand more about the world around us and begin to live in harmony with all beings. That said, I’m offering good money for the pelt of a homo playsdowntowin. Somebody needs to put those cocky motherfuckers in their place.