It was a slow Thursday night in the Grace Hopper College buttery, when all at once, about 15 people in athletic attire surged into the basement dining space. They were coming from an intramural broomball game — like hockey, but without skates — in which Hopper had just defeated Jonathan Edwards College 2–0.
This was an exceptional sight. Hopper finished dead last in the intramural standings last year and has the longest Tyng Cup drought of any of the residential colleges. The last time Hopper, then Calhoun College, won the cup, gas was 59 cents a gallon and Gerald Ford was president of the United States.
Times have changed. With a new name, rising participation, especially from first years and sophomores, and enthusiastic e-mailing by IM secretaries Josh Perez-Cruet ’20, Vikram Shaw ’20 and Alyssa Amick ’19, a former copy editor for the News, Hopper has entered a kind of intramural renaissance. The college has scored the fourth most intramural points since the winter season started, trailing only Saybrook, Silliman and Trumbull colleges in that time frame. Compared to last year, collegewide emails about intramurals have risen in frequency, intensity and pathos.
“Quit your extracurriculars, quit your classes, and say goodbye to your friends for the next two months,” Perez-Cruet ’20 said in a college-wide email. “WE ARE GOING TO BRING HOME THE TYNG CUP.”
Other students, including Shaw, have matchedPerez-Cruet’s zeal. “The last time we played this team, we won 60–22,” Shaw said in response to a an email about C-hoops, the lowest level of men’s basketball. “That’s not good enough. … I want them to stop having fun after the first thirty seconds. We are going to score at least 100 points. See y’all out there.”
That enthusiasm has paid off. While last year Hopper frequently had to forfeit matches, this winter, the college has made the playoffs for indoor soccer, volleyball, C-hoops and broomball, according to Hopper IM Secretary Josh Perez-Cruet ’20.
“Our IM secs Josh, Alyssa and Vikram deserve major applause for galvanizing the whole college,” said Julia Adams, the head of Hopper, when asked what factors have contributed to the college’s success. Others specifically applauded the efforts of Perez-Cruet, whose aggressive broomball performances have made him notorious among competitors. Yvonne Ho ’21 called Perez-Cruet an “IM god.”
Alena Rajwani ’20 attributed the college’s intramural success not only to the energy brought by captains and secretaries, but also to students’ excitement about representing their new namesake, the pioneering computer scientist Grace Hopper GRD ’34
“I don’t think people were incentivized to go out and root for Calhoun at IMs,” Rajwani said. “I don’t think that was a thing.”
Hopper still has work to do. As of last week, the team sits in ninth place in the IM standings, with 292 points. Saybrook, the current leader, has 700 points. Only 17 points separate sixth and ninth place, however. With a strong finish to the winter season, Hopper can climb a few places in the standings, sending the newly renamed college into uncharted territory — the top half of the intramural standings.
In the Hopper buttery, riding the high of another successful night of broomball, Perez-Cruet did not hold back when talking about Hopper’s IM exploits.
“We’ve really got that scrappy mentality, I’d say,” he said. “We bounce back hella quickly. And we build off our wins, too.”
“We got grit,” added Christopher Rodriguez ’20, sitting just a few feet away.
“I like that,” Perez-Cruet said. “I like that.”
Jacob Sweet | firstname.lastname@example.org