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Intramural softball offers camaraderie

Column by Joanie Barry

Barry is a junior radio-television and secondary education double major and can be reached at joan.barry@drake.edu

 Joanie Berry Color-w800-h800

This week is the last week of intramurals. As the softball season is readying its end, I started to reflect on the uniqueness of our final intramural sport of the year.

On the first week of softball, I made my way to the field, part of me dreaded the first game I was going to work. The match up was Sigma Chi versus SigEp. Now, I personally have no qualms with either teams but fraternities have a tendency to be very competitive in every sport. I was tired and hungry and to be honest, I did not want to work a competitive game.

When these two teams meet on the soccer field they are out for blood. The SigEp versus Sigma Chi soccer games are legendary for their tough competition, but softball was a different story. Both teams were laughing and having fun. Everyone on either team knew each other and cracked jokes with me and the other officials the entire game.

That game was one of my favorite days working intramurals in the past three years. That includes the day the Pikes snuck a puppy into the Bell Center.

Then, I started to think back to last softball season. This was not the first time I officiated a softball game that could have doubled for a comedy act. I officiated plenty of teams that, if they were playing any other sport, would have been a brutal bloodbath. Instead, competitors look at softball season in a different way, and I have some theories behind this softball mentality.

Before I begin, I will point out that there are still some teams that take softball very seriously, but they seem to be in the minority.

My first theory is the location of the games — outside. After months of horrendous winter weather, any excuse to get outside is welcome. Even if the temperatures are in the 40s, competitors still love to be outside.

The next theory is the pace of softball game. Basketball, soccer and even football could be considered fast-paced compared to softball. The only serious running athletes do is on the base path. This leaves the rest the team standing around and making jokes about the base runners’ lack of speed due to a growing beer belly.

My last theory is that softball is truly a team sport. Technically, all of intramurals’ big sports are team sports, but one player can change the dynamic of the whole game. In softball, one good hitter cannot make up for an outfield of bad fielders. Each team member is dependent on the other, which builds camaraderie.

I’ve decided to skip my rule reminder of the week because, let’s be honest, if you don’t know the rules by now, I can’t help you. Instead, I wanted to say a quick thank you to the senior supervisors. This year we say goodbye to Spenser Kockler, Kari Budnik, Julie Baldassarra, Tyler Gilmore and Adrea Holler.

I personally want to thank them for everything they have done. Each of them has been a model for me as a supervisor. Gilmore and Kockler have always encouraged me to stay confident and get respect from our players. Budnik and Holler’s knowledge of all intramural sports are the standard for all intramural officials and supervisors. Last but not least, Baldassarra’s sarcastic and witty sense of humor reminds everyone that intramurals is a place for fun no matter how tense games get. I cannot describe how much I, and the rest of the intramural staff, will miss them. They have become more than our coworkers they are our friends.


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