Skip to Content, Navigation, or Footer.
Logo of The Middlebury Campus
Tuesday, Dec 5, 2023

To Ball or Not to Ball: Are varsity ballers tarnishing the integrity of IM basketball?

(Spoiler: The answer is yes.)

The heavy thud of the balls against the glossy gym floors. The shiny squeak of tennis shoes. Grunts and laughs and the haunting melodic tones of Roscoe Dash and Waka Flocka Flame’s “No Hands.” This is intramural (IM) basketball. This is a haven. This is what I call home. 

I first began my journey into IM basketball last winter. The season was magical — a warm solace amidst the biting cold winter month. I had finally found the perfect outlet to display my hard-earned skills from my one season of JV basketball in high school.  Naturally, I helped continue my team's dynasty into the spring season. At our first game, my team pulled up: confident, relaxed, ready to ball. We were met with an intense rival team, one with impossible skill and strength. This was a team bolstered with the skills of varsity basketball players on their roster. Suddenly, the once whimsical and laid-back IM league had been greatly intensified by the influx of the varsity basketball players onto the court. Newly released from their winter season, these athletes were ready to school us with their hard-earned skills. We went into the first half down ten, yet nonetheless we dug down, ready for the challenge, and we managed to tie it up near the end. Unfortunately, our star player Griffin Clinton ’24, dislocated his shoulder in what would have been a game-changing lay up. Our team was wrought with despair. From the shadows, a varsity basketball player stepped up to join us, and with the help of this generous friend, we won the game. In the aftermath of the glory, the blood and the tears, I couldn’t help but feel uneasy about the outcome. 

Not to say I do not admire the technical precision of Jaden Bobbett’s ’25 lay up, but does it have a place among the humble courts of us mere, non-collegiate ballers? Doth one dare tell Noah Osher ’23.5 that a shooter cannot shoot? Or can we turn to Charley Moore ’23.5 and steal the well-deserving thunder that enshrouds his gallop amongst the hardwood? May we please be allowed one small opportunity to ‘ball’ without being quite literally crossed up by the strength and fortitude of these forces of nature? 

I fear that this article will follow me into the spring season, so let me end with this: As long as varsity basketball players play, I will recruit their forces for my team — if not, my honor and pride will be obliterated by their skills. But please, can we as a larger community reckon with these athletes and allow us (mere mortals) a glimmering moment to shine on the court? 

Liv Cohen is a member of the class of 2023.5.