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Commentary: Gridiron wishes and Super Bowl dreams


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Arizona Daily Wildcat
By Charles Renning
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Tuesday, August 31, 2004
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Playing intramural sports probably won't get you onto Lute and Bobbi Olson Court in front of 14,000 people for ABC's game of the week.

And I doubt head football coach Mike Stoops is going to be calling on you to make a big play against Southern California because of the move you put on some journalism major in your last flag football game.

Playing intramural sports could get you even more without the four hour practices and the off-season workouts.

In three years of playing intramural sports, I have been on national television, been to a Super Bowl, traveled the country and competed for a regional championship - all while putting in about one percent of what a "real" college athlete puts into his/her sport.

Intramural sports are the most productive thing I've done in my college career.

It all began my freshman year when I participated in flag football, basketball and softball. I accomplished little, but I made new friends and finished last in softball, getting 10-run-ruled in every contest.

The next year was when things really turned around.

My football team, Full Monkey!, finished as the second-best team on campus and I was chosen as one of six intramural athletes to represent the UA at Super Bowl XXXVII in the College Flag Football Championship.

Myself and five other Wildcats beat another coed team from Southern Mississippi in a six-on-six game televised on Fox's Under the Helmet segment during it's NFL coverage.

Following the game we were treated to four days in San Diego. The total travel package included tickets to the biggest sporting event in the world, compliments of the NFL and their promotion of college flag football.

My travels didn't stop there.

For two straight years, Full Monkey! traveled to Tempe to play in the west regional tournament, and last season was two wins away from earning a trip to New Orleans during New Years' for the national tournament.

However, not every season has had a happy ending.

I was part of two softball teams that couldn't have beaten a girls' 10 and under squad. I was a member of a floor hockey team that didn't even qualify for the postseason (and in most sports every team gets a playoff berth). And most disheartening was the basketball playoff loss when we had the ball, leading by 2, with less than a second remaining and ended up losing by one (figure that one out).

Win or lose, Super Bowl or toilet bowl, every intramural season has been a terrific experience - and not only for the physical rewards.

Some of the biggest rewards come in other ways.

I have made a few dozen friends through intramural teams, I've shed the extra calories from choosing to drink Budweiser over Bud Light, and I've sustained my competitive drive that everyone plays sports for.

A lot of people might think intramural sports are just for fraternities and freshmen in their first year, but anyone can enjoy them. Anyone with a desire to compete can find a sport. With about 25 different activities, odds are there's a sport out there for you.

Last season, Full Monkey!'s coed football had three female players who'd competed in few (if any) sports in their lives, but the team managed to win the campus championship.

So lace up them cleats, throw on that eye-black, put on the headband, get out there and play.

The deadline to sign up for all of the fall sports (including flag football, inner tube water polo, team tennis, speed soccer and 3-on-3 volleyball) is Sept. 3, with play beginning Sept. 12.

Even if you don't have friends who want to play, the intramural department set up a free agent play day, where teams looking to add players to their roster can watch individuals play and pick them up.

The free agent play day for all fall sports is tomorrow, so the window to register is getting smaller by the day.

Like with most research papers, college students wait until the last minute to do anything and, but last minute is now. Go sign up.

Besides, Full Monkey! is always looking for some good competition.

Charles Renning is an education senior. He can be reached at sports@wildcat.arizona.edu.



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