PIPER: Find your way to the field

It’s 11:30 a.m. on a typical weekday, and my phone is blowing up. The influx of texts, the occasional call and the various one-liner e-mails I receive may be woefully misconstrued as a testament to my popularity. Yeah, okay. So what’s really going on here? A love-to-hate phenomenon known as IM recruiting.

I am that girl in JE. I can probably be found in the dining hall sporting Nike shorts, running shoes with bright laces, and a JE IM shirt — a different shade of green for every day of the week. Every college has them. We’re Yale’s intramurals secretaries, otherwise known as “the secs.”

There are four of us in JE, and I have always wondered what our fellow JE’ers think of us. I know that some cower as they see us approach, knowing what inevitable question is about to begin this all-too frequent conversation, “You know who looks great in green? You. Are you free tomorrow at 3:50? Excellent.” Boom. It’s person-flirting at its most desperate. But hey, a little wooing never hurt anyone.

While some surely dread that same weekly question, others relish it. Intramurals foster a great community that bridges gaps in gender, class year and social circles. Where else can you shout “my awesome college ‘sux’” and have it be a good thing? You don’t see me chanting, “I suck.” The long-standing tradition of this cheer, the tight-knit JE community and our unwavering determination to top the standings has somehow made that cheer a standard part of my vocabulary.

Walking into JE’s dining hall at dinner, you will likely see a sea of green shirts. Post-game meals define the JE IM community and people love to get involved. Yalies by nature are competitive, and IMs provide a (usually) healthy and friendly outlet for this competition. The difficulty here is convincing your college that this is the case.

The truth is, IMs have a cult following. If you are not a member of the cult, chances are your good friend is, and on any given day you might find yourself standing in the middle of a field, or better yet, on Yale’s golf course, a little lost and silently cursing the suitemate who coerced you into this. While you may have decided never to speak to her again, she is looking for ways to show her eternal gratitude.

For first timers, one of the biggest IM hurdles to overcome is finding your way to the field and walking up to that crowd of college colored shirts: a circle of friends and you are the outsider. It’s like a form of activation energy. You need that initial push.

Whether it’s being driven out to the fields in an upperclassmen’s car or having your hand held on the bus, it really only takes one time to understand just how amazing the culture surrounding IMs are. After one game, that circle of strangers becomes part of your friend group, and like an unofficial initiation, you become a real member of your college.

How did I get involved? It started the day of freshman move-in. By chance, the two JE kids assigned to carry my stuff were a sophomore IM secretary and the captain of JE’s coed football team. One week later, I found myself on the coed football field.

I got involved early, but I stayed involved because IMs are so refreshing. It’s exercise, it’s time to hang out with friends, it’s a mental break. That problem set can wait. You can attend another section. When you score that winning goal, it all becomes worth it.

“GPA is only in this lifetime, IM glory lasts forever,” said the Jonathan Edwards Class of 2009.

Kat Piper is a senior in Jonathan Edwards College. Contact her at katheryn.piper@yale.edu .

This piece is part of the News’ Friday Forum. Click here to read more.

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