I never saw any playing time on my high school basketball team. During my freshman year, my high school basketball coach told me – in front of my whole team – that he would love to play me, but he couldn’t because I wasn’t good enough. Well, he was wrong. In the championship game, I came off the bench and nailed the game-winning jumper, ending the opposing team’s undefeated streak and making the crowd go wild.
Now, that team may have been from a local recreational church league, and I may have come off the bench because everyone is mandated to play at least one second of every game in said recreational church league, and that game-winning jumper might have been a 10-foot bank shot in the third quarter that should not have counted because of an uncalled traveling violation, and the crowd may have been just a handful of apathetic mothers and siblings, but it doesn’t matter. I had my five seconds of glory, and no one, not even my jerk coach, could take that away from me.
Like my ninth-grade self, hundreds of men and women write their own personal stories of sporting glory out on Whitnall Field every year for the Colgate Intramurals program. Much like many great sports scribes, it is my job to relay the stories of these Herculean heroes here in the Maroon-News.
Division I Champs: Stop the presses: Sigma Chi A once again went undefeated en route to winning the championship. Sigma’s closest game was a 35-22 win over the Nagle’s Bagels. Also, Sigma was losing at halftime to Brothers 9-7 of its quarterfinal matchup, but senior QB Pete Smith came back from a field trip just in time to help the hilltop frat outscore Brothers 27-6 in the second half. For Smith to come back at halftime and play with such urgency against a talented Brothers team was reminiscent of Knicks center Willis Reed starting and playing on one leg in Game 7 of the 1970 NBA Finals against the Lakers. But one question remains. Which return was better?
“I would say my second half heroics against the Brothers, no question,” Smith said. “Given that I had just spent an hour on a bus ride and was feeling stiff, coupled with the wet field conditions, my performance far exceeds Willis’s.”
Sigma A then defeated Sigma B 56-28 in the semis en route to pummeling That Important 53-15 in the finals. Yawn.
Division I Edge Pro-Gel MVP: As a mandate from our new sponsors at Edge, the MVP award is now named the Edge Pro-Gel award since Edge graciously gave us new football flags for this year. In a unanimous decision from the Association of Intramural Sportswriters (AIS), Pete Smith is once again the MVP of the league after ceding the award to classmate Matt Usdin last season. The two-time MVP’s caliber of play was fantastic this season, as he racked up touchdowns through the air and on the ground. He also played the lead role in the play of the year. Facing a down-and-goal situation from the Sigma B 10-yard line in the semifinals, Smith rolled to his left and gunned a pass to the end zone. However, a defender slapped it back to Smith, who caught the ball, dodged more defenders and dove into the end zone for the score. Damn. However, Smith could not do it alone. He is the leader of the Sigma wolf pack, as eight Sigma wolves took to the field every day and destroyed their opponents like a wolf destroys a wildebeest in the Canadian forest. Smith liked the comparison.
“Absolutely, I added seven guys to my [previously one-man] wolf pack in the beginning of the season and we set out to dominate every team in our path. And that is what we did.”
Smith had nice words to say about specific fellow wolves as well.
“I have been fortunate to have talented players around me for all four years from Clifford the Big Red Dawgz to the Sigma Chi Dynasty. It’s hard to say which championship team was the best, but I can say that the players in my class, such as Jon Gimber, Matt Usdin, John Williams and Jake Moore, are by far the best players I’ve played with and are the reason for our championships.”
Division I Game of the Year: It’s not every day that we see an overtime game on the intramural fields. But a double overtime game? That’s preposterous. Such was the case when That Important defeated Slytherin 35-28 in double overtime in the D-I semifinals. Sophomore quarterback Johnny Lembeck came through with a couple of touchdown passes in overtime, one on fourth down to classmate Seth Brennan to keep the game alive. Slytherin had a fourth-and-one in double overtime, but could not convert. It was the greatest football game since Super Bowl XLII, and a contest between two fantastic teams.
Division I Garrett Ley Warrior of the Year Award: This award was first given out to Los Shrimps QB Sam Osborn for playing on a torn ACL last season. It was then given to Garrett Ley, who dislocated his knee, tore his medial patella ligament, tore cartilage, and fractured both his femur and patella after injuring himself during practice for IM softball. He had two surgeries and is now back on the IM fields. What a beast! Anyways, this award is named after Ley, and this year, the recipient is Theta Chi WR Sam Worth, who dislocated his shoulder, popped it back in, and then caught a last-second touchdown pass against Beta. Sam Worth, I salute you.
Division I First Team: Senior QB Pete Smith, senior Matt Usdin, senior Jon Gimber, senior Charles Green, junior Brendon Mitchell, junior Dave Tucciarone, senior Neal Patel, junior Matt Kissane.
Division I Second Team: Senior Christov Churchward, junior Chris Dell’Amore, sophomore QB Johnny Lembeck, sophomore Seth Brennan, junior Matt Kissane, junior Justin Kyhos, junior Medvis “Adrian Peterson” Jackson, senior Jake Moore.
Division I Honorable Mention: Junior Mike Naughton. It is a mighty blow to a man’s ego when he is voted on the first team one year and then left off both all-league squads the next season. However, Naughton is taking it all in stride.
“Thanks for acknowledging my superior leadership and ability,” Naughton told the press. “Although I am disappointed that, for the first time in my career, I will not be receiving recognition as an all IM performer, I am aware of Smith’s talents, and want to give him his credit. Lembeck is a great athlete, but I thought this was an award for the best quarterback, not the best Wildcat back who throws three passes a game. Last time I checked, Ronnie Brown has never gotten the nod over Peyton Manning in AFC Pro Bowl nominations.”
Naughton is slated to take over as Sigma A’s quarterback next season, but he has been characterized in the media as a me-first player who does not always get along with his teammates. The media has also sometimes unfairly portrayed him as a pocket quarterback who takes three weeks to run the length of Whitnall Field (if indeed he is able to make it at all). Naughton had much to say about recent criticisms of his play.
“Although varsity lax standouts Mike Crown and Rob Bosco were both left in the dust as a I ran rampant in our quarterfinal victory over Nagle’s Bagles, I don’t pretend to be Michael Vick,” Naughton said. “What I am, pure and simple, is the best pure pocket passer this league has ever seen. The accuracy of my passes is perhaps what has caused [Sigma B wideout and second team performer junior] Justin Kyhos to grow a bit too big for his britches. Justin has been a go-to receiver for me for three years now, and he has been integral to my success. The only chemistry issues we have encountered have been the result of Justin wanting what he can’t have: my quarterback job and elite social status. That being said, I think Justin will learn what [junior] Teddy Seifert did a year ago: the only time you need to open your mouth as my receiver is when you have a half-step on your defender, but by that time the ball is likely already on the way to your fingertips. So catch it, score and thank me.”
Division II Champs: While Division I was predictable, Division II was anything but. Eighth seed and rookie squad Miller High Life started out the year 0-4 in the D League before winning its last regular season game and then taking all three of its playoff games to win the championship. Their run was almost akin to the Mighty Ducks in 1992, who started out the season winless before taking their last game and then beating three teams in the playoffs to win the Minnesota Peewee Hockey Championship. That’s somewhat ironic, for Miller High Life’s first win of the year came against a team called The Mighty Ducks. Miller High Life beat the Fighting Coxmen by two touchdowns in the quarterfinals before playing the D-II Game of the Year in the semis against previously undefeated and one-seed Phi Delt. Then Miller High Life played great defense en route to a 28-9 thrashing over The Dynasty, another first-year team.
“Our motto was ‘The regular season is the preseason,'” MHL QB Alex Falk said. “All that mattered was the playoffs.”
Division II Edge Pro-Gel MVP: No doubt the MVP has to go to first-year Alex Falk. He is the unsung leader of Miller High Life, and was one of the quarterbacks in Miller High’s 2-QB set. What a great American.
Division II Game of the Year: In a unanimous decision, the D-II game of the year was Miller High Life’s 31-28 win over previously undefeated Phi Delt in the semifinals. Miller High Life played great defense en route to leading Phi Delt 28-14 with under two minutes left. However, the wheels then started falling off. MHL made the bad mistake of kicking off to All-World kick returner and senior Mike Palmer, who returned the kick to the house for six. The PAT made the score 28-21 in MHL’s favor. On its next possession, MHL got a first down and could have run out the clock with less than a minute left, but they decided to take to the air. With about 50 seconds left, a pass was thrown, batted into the air and then intercepted and returned to the end zone for six. After the PAT the game was tied. In order to avoid the biggest choke of all time, MHL had to drive the length of the field, but they did it! A long 30-yard pass to first-year Eddie Stone was the key play in a drive that ended with a Brad Anglum 20-yard field goal with nine seconds left. A desperation Phi Delt pass fell short, and the game ended.
Division II Garrett Ley Warrior of the Year Award: No doubt here, the award has to go to Killer Tofu senior WR Steve Kendrex, who is in Colgate’s ROTC program and will be on the battlefield someday. He is a true warrior in every sense of the word.
Division II First Team: First-year QB Alex Falk, senior Raipher Pellegrino, senior Gordie Brummer, Assistant Athletic Director Shaun Richard, first-year Matt Robinson, senior Mike Palmer, senior Brett Butler, the freshman who caught that 30-yard pass in the MHL-Phi Delt game whose name I can’t recall.
Division II Honorable Mention: I don’t mean to brag, but I will. I caught fire near the end of the season. Twice during the year I had four-catch games. I may have caught all those passes because my man on the line rushed the QB, leaving me wide-open, but that doesn’t affect the stats. I also caught a game-winning touchdown pass with 30 seconds left in the quarterfinal round, partially because my team was playing a man up. Also, would you like to know who had the best QB rating in all of Intramural Football this year? Me! Coming in for mop-up duty during two blowouts (I won’t tell you whether they were wins or losses), I went 8-10 for 170 yards and four touchdowns. Do you hear that sound? I think the United Football League is calling my name.
Coming Up: IM Soccer is now underway! Check back with the commish after break for more intramural updates.