Monday, May 20, 2024

Outside the Court


by Jaizer Jim R. Nadal 

I don’t know how much truth is in this statement, but I heard somewhere that there are only two major events that every Sillimanian looks forward to: Hibalag and the Intramurals (Intrams), mainly because these words are synonymous with our favourite announcement: “no classes.” But apart from that, these events hold some of the most memorable college moments for certain students. It’s not just a break from the ever-demanding classroom anymore. For performers and musicians, Hibalag is their golden ticket to the stage where they can finally have their 15 minutes of fame. For athletes, Intrams is another chance to prove which college is the best. For others, it’s an opportunity to play which, regardless of winning or not, is a pleasure all on its own.

Intrams is certainly a big deal for the players. Case in point: practice for the basketball teams started on the first week of November. And this is only because practice before or during first semester finals is prohibited. Of course, there are a number of teams that join the games purely for the fun of it. But for any college that reaches finals, there is a certain amount of dedication that is to be expected. You can’t beat 15 colleges out of pure luck after all. These players are undoubtedly talented. And with the inspiring prospect of their college being declared champions, students should expect some pretty intense games within this week.

But this article isn’t about the players, as interesting as they are. This is about the people on the side. It is given that the athletes get most of the attention during Intrams. Upon a team’s victory, one has to deal with fans, groupies, interviews from tWS , things of the sort. But it would be wrong to say that it’s all about them. A performer needs his audience, doesn’t he? It might even be appropriate to say that it’s the people outside the court that make Intrams happen. Truth be told, it’s just a game, isn’t it? But it’s the gym and the leagues of adoring fans that make the spectacle.

The most noticeable group in any game are the “cheerleaders.” I say the term cheerleader loosely. We don’t have a coordinated dance group with choreographed flips and chants like the general use of the term implies. Our cheerleading squad consists of classmates, friends, and girlfriends of the players screaming their lungs out and waving their handmade banners “Go (insert name here), Go!” Apart from altering the decibel level of the game with their screams, they also serve as moral supporters for the players. They are an integral part of the whole Intrams fever. Without the presence of a well-caffeinated cheerleading section, the ambiance of the gym would be that of a chess game.

The second group is the food committee. As their name suggests, they are a committee in charge of the food. Some people join the committee since it has “excused from classes” [I thought Intrams is synonymous with No Classes!  Why “excused from classes?] written all over it. A few of the guys join because it just so happens that the cute girl from Spanish [in Silliman context?] is on the volleyball team. Whatever impulse that brings people in doesn’t really matter. They’re there for the team.

However, the most peculiar group is everyone else. These are the people who don’t go to the games. Maybe they will, but at most they’ll be seeing one or two. Some of them are too busy with schoolwork and things of the sort. Others see Intrams as a week without classes. The fact remains that this is a week in which the last long vacation before Christmas break occurs. It is not surprising for some students to indulge in something which doesn’t involve the school. I really don’t know how this particular group fits into the Intrams paradigm, but it is interesting to note that these people make up a great number of the Silliman population.

Intrams is an event that indirectly affects everyone in Silliman. When someone mentions the list of champions, it’s hard not to get excited, or at the very least interested. It gives you a sense of communion with the university. It almost feels like you had a part in the results. And in a way, that’s true. Intrams isn’t just about the trophy. The players are doing this for their college, for their name immortalized (for a year) on a tarpaulin, for the students who sees that and feel more proud of their college.


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