With less than a minute left on the clock and the score tied at 2-2, Jonathan Edwards player Josh Elser ’11 broke away from a pack of Ezra Stiles defenders during an intramural ice hockey game Feb. 16. Heading toward the goal, Elser seemed moments away from scoring when he tripped and crashed into the wall of the rink, falling unconscious on the ice. Paramedics rushed him away, leaving captains of both JE and Stiles to agree that the game would officially end with a tie score.
But once the initial shock abated, JE players remembered that a win for this game would have tied them for the intramural ice hockey championship. There was only one person who could help them resolve this quandary: Dan Geoffrion ’10, Yale’s official head intramural secretary.
Employed by the University to keep track of intramural scores and scheduling for all 12 residential colleges, Geoffrion is also the go-to guy for conflict resolution — from complaints about inattentive referees to questions of player eligibility. When contacted by Suttle, Geoffrion had to collect accounts of the incident from both teams, as well as the referees, in order to determine exactly how much time was left in the game (22 seconds) and whether it was worth the hassle of scheduling to finish the game.
Sitting in his office, which he shares with the athletics administrative assistant on the fifth floor of Payne Whitney Gymnasium, Geoffrion sported a gray Yale hoodie and shuffled through stacks of score sheets last Wednesday. A tall, smiling brunette, Geoffrion quipped that he double majors in economics and extracurricular activities — which, in addition to his commitment to intramurals, includes Yale Students for Christ and Yale Gospel Choir.
Geoffrion said he nabbed the title of head IM secretary — a position usually reserved for upperclassmen — as a sophomore through active participation in intramural sports his freshman year, in addition to close correspondence with his predecessor, J.D. Kearney ’08. Now in his second year as head IM secretary, Geoffrion said he earns “the standard Yale part-time wage,” which, for most students employed by the University, is the minimum wage of $11.50 per hour.
The most popular extracurricular at Yale, Geoffrion said, intramural sports boasted a participation count of 12,757 points for the 2007-2008 academic year and 5,277 for the past fall season, each point representing a student who shows up to play IMs. Such high involvement mixed with fiery loyalties to respective residential colleges, he said, can create a tense environment.
“When you get a group of 12 people together so incredibly into IMs, it could get rudely competitive,” said Berkeley IM secretary Katherine Woodfield ’10, referring to the weekly intramural secretary meetings involving representatives from all 12 residential colleges.
Pierson IM secretary Drew Henry ’09 agreed that Geoffrion “takes his job very seriously” and acts as a responsible liaison between colleges.
Often the recipient of angry e-mails concerning incorrect scores or questionable decisions made by other IM teams, Geoffrion said he tries to address concerns calmly and in person to add a little humanity to the ruthless IM rivalries.
Geoffrion recalled one instance in which he received a belligerent e-mail from an acquaintance about a score of a water polo match. When Geoffrion brought up the e-mail in person, he explained, the sender abashedly made the connection between face and name, and apologized for his email.
“It’s easy when I’m just an anonymous face,” Geoffrion said. “But as I get to know them better, the e-mails have gotten nicer.”
As an avid athlete who is involved in 10 IM sports, the Davenport junior values intramural sports for the unique relationships and sense of community they create among students. And in the case of the JE-Stiles hockey match, Geoffrion ended up rescheduling a 22-second match between the two teams last week.
“People really care about IMs,” Geoffrion said. “They want every Tyng Cup point they can get.”