By Joshua Manly
Walt Whitman once famously wrote in his first collection of
poetry, “I sing the body electric.” While many famous scholars
believe that Whitman is putting into verse the eroticism of the
human form, new evidence has recently come to light that the
iconoclastic poet is actually writing about intramural sports.
The highest form of competition for every weekend warrior and
armchair quarterback commences this week and with more enthusiasm
than all four verbs that reside outside of the Bronco Student
Center, I welcome it.
For a school that has less sports than a weekend on ESPN and
less loyal fans than Sanjaya (Editors Note: This columnist has
recently sold his soul for cheap jokes and possibly an internship
on Fox), intramural sports is the hallowed halls where majors come
together for the need to prove once and for all that they deserve
to wear the mighty T-shirt claiming, “YES! I was the one that won
that game that your friend told you about though he might not
actually have been there maybe why not.”
Over the weekend I attended the first practice for my softball
team and realized that I was in college. It was just six students
standing out on the grassy goodness in front of Kellogg Gym playing
softball. We were like the Planeteers, were they to stop fighting
pollution down to zero and Heart would stop trying to yell,
The practice came on Jackie Robinson Day in Major League
Baseball, a day when the widely revered Marlon Wayans proclaimed
that Robinson had brought a nation together with his bravery.
Softball brought myself and some students who I had never met
back to the simple things in life. Bats, balls, green grass, I may
start singing the national anthem soon.
If you have never played a sport intramurally at Cal Poly, make
it a mission statement of your quarter. Think that they are silly?
Then ask one of the many flag football teams who practice for hours
to win on weekend nights.
Ask some of the students who switch shifts just to kick a soccer
ball around and think about something other than an essay due or
expectations outlined in the syllabi of their lives.
Practice concluded with dinner at Los Olivos Commons, no
cellphones, no Internet, no MySpace. College was happening under
the drumming of AYSO soccer and constant orientation gaggles of
high school students.
I would love to see AJ Cavaletto launch a ball over my head or
Larry Gordon embarrass me with a move that I would be positive
defied gravity. I think that every athlete at Cal Poly should play
with us, though I understand that injuries matter a lot more to a
student whose tuition depends on their ankles, muscles, or ability
So stop pronouncing Cal Poly as a commuter school with a sad
excuse for a sports program or the fulfillment of football through
flags. Join a sport even if it’s just to relive being a planeteer
with a college degree. College is happening on the fields and in
the gym. Compete. Play. Win.
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