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Intramural Basketball at YU

It’s 11 AM on Tuesday night. Throughout New York, the lights are beginning to shut as people retire for the night. After all, what does one do at 11 PM on Tuesday night? For Stanley Watson and Miguel the night is just getting started. Dressed in their authentic, brand-name referee shirts, Stan and Miguel rush down to the Max Stern Athletic Center to kick off a night of Yeshiva University intramural basketball.

Every week, around midnight, students in YU compete for the intramural title. There are two different leagues, one which plays on Tuesday night and the other on Wednesday. Each league has eight teams, which is subject to change depending how many students sign up. In September, captains are elected (sometimes coerced) and choose teams in a stressful and draining draft often accompanied by conflict and strife. The league kicks off right away and runs throughout the semester.

Many students choose not to play intramurals for a wide variety of reasons. “The games are too late,” “I have too much work,” “I don’t like the refs,” and “I don’t get enough playing time,” barely scratch the surface of the many excuses heard around campus. However, all those that have not been willing to take the plunge can’t truly comprehend what makes intramurals at YU so appealing. Players love the consistency of having a game in a specific time slot, one that they look forward to throughout the rest of the week. Says Burry Klein, a second year power-forward from Woodmere, “intramurals on Tuesday night is like cholent on Shabbos. If I don’t have it every week, there’s just something missing.”

Intramurals is a commitment, and a difficult one at that. Often, after 12 o’clock games, one isn’t able to go to bed until way past 2 AM. This puts a strain on many students, especially those that wake up early in the morning. However, many students feel that the mental lift they receive from intramurals more than compensates for the lack of sleep that may ensue. “Although I don’t get to bed until late, hitting the sack after a nice, clean intramural win leaves me feeling refreshed the next day,” says Ike Levine, a wily veteran in his fifth semester in intramurals.

Stan and Miguel, the “faces” of Yeshiva intramurals, are the straws that stir the drink and the brains behind the operation. From the draft until the last whistle of the championship, Stan and Miguel work with endless devotion scheduling games and refereeing. In addition to their efficient work on the court, many students develop sound relationships with the two of them. “Miguel is like a father to me, and Stan is like a great uncle,” says Sammy Rosenzweig, a retired intramural forward.

In YU, students must often seek out ways to enjoy themselves while simultaneously dealing with the rigor of a dual schedule and everything that comes with it. But intramurals is not just an outlet. For many, it is one of the central features characterizing their YU experiences. Sadly, some students only recognize the greatness of intramurals when it’s too late. Josh Pianko, a 2010 intramurals player, recalls the agony he felt when missing intramural signup: “I just didn’t know about it. When they told me, it was too late.”