Through the eyes of a (REAL) first-timer

By Ruth Anne B. Suson
October 4, 2010, 4:00 pm

The Xavier University Intramurals 2010. High school seriously never compared to this. Informal games and contests did nothing to prepare me for this great display of skill, power, and speed. With tryouts and strenuous back-breaking practices, is it any wonder that the XU Intrams became a congregation, a gathering, of the quickest, the strongest, the best in Atenean sportsmanship?

I am a freshman in Xavier University, and this is my first experience of the XU Intramurals.

Oh the colors that met my eyes as I gazed around the campus! A red banner wished the Artscies Tigers good luck while yellow and black bid the SBM Eagles to Go! Fight! Win! in large letters. The stage in the XU gym flashed the 7 colors of the competing colleges, and I finally established that Nursing was light blue while dark blue was the color of the School of Education.

Loyally wearing the colors of their respective colleges, students filed into the gym 3 hours before the start of the cheerleading competition. Suspense rose as the beginning event of the Intrams drew near. 

I had never seen a true cheerleading competition, nor had I ever watched a real sports competition where different players matched their skills and wits against each other in fierce battle. Thus it was with an eager eye and a hopeful mood that I awaited the advent of the Intramurals.

The first bright ray in the horizon came some days before the Intrams started: some weekdays would be designated "study days" to make way for the Intrams! (Study day -- a creative, studious-sounding way of saying 'NO CLASSES.') Wonderful! Ample time to actually watch the games and sports; which is a sensible idea. After all, what's the use of having this awe-inspiring set of events when the student body is distracted by schedules and classes? I could now focus my full attention on the novelty of the Intramurals.

I spent the majority of my time on the badminton courts.

So my weekend "rest" was snatched away. So what? I was drawn in by the hypnotism of the badminton games. I had only ever seen people playing badminton in public courts -- people good and bad at the game, or experts teaching beginners -- never this medley of trained and well-practiced men and women, the least of whom could defeat me effortlessly.

The tournament started. The players wielded their rackets. And I, a poor amateur, could only watch in awe and wonder as they sent the shuttlecock flying back and forth, back and forth, with amazing displays of strength, agility, and speed of hand, foot, and eye; the shuttlecock seemed faster than light to my untrained eyes, yet wonder of wonders, the players caught it and sent it flashing back, time and time again. The championship games eclipsed all; hard battles were fought on those courts.

To sit and watch skilled players handling their weapons in their own battlefields -- with the vague thought lingering in your mind that you could never match up to them -- this is the hypnosis of the game.

It mesmerized me completely.

Even the implications of the events... that here were students just like me, people whom I pass everyday on campus, young men and women with teachers and subjects and homework and hardships, now shining forth and displaying their talents and abilities in sports -- the hidden heroes of Xavier University!

There is one issue that I frown upon, however. With the advent of the Intramurals comes heightened prejudices; biases rise as, for a few days, XU is divided. The students cheer for their respective colleges, and that attitude of "whatever, as long as we win!" irritated me somewhat. A comment to an athlete, about an athlete, earned me the quick response: "Bahala na! Pildi na pud." Or the hard feelings that bloomed from SBM's 6-time overall championship: that attitude of, "It doesn't matter if we don't win, as long as they don't win again."
Must I wait for the end of the Intramurals before I can converse normally with people?

People are people, and students can't help it if they end up in colleges more lucrative than others, or in colleges that just have a less athletic population. We can't hate a guy just because he's a good player on 'their' side. It isn't reasonable. Cheer up! Have fun! These are the XU Games, for crying out loud. There are losers, and there are winners, in every game all the world round.

Okay, maybe I'm putting it in a harsh light. After all, competition is good, right? Probably I haven't been a student of XU long enough to form biases. Only the coming years can tell.

In general? I enjoyed this new experience. Sometimes it's amazing how much one can miss before reaching college age! 

Well, come what may, I believe that I will remember this first Intrams with fond memories -- in snatches of sound and of color and excited suspense; that season of competition and glory for the taking, the XU Intramurals 2010.

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