Thursday, April 12th, 2012...12:13 pm

The End of an Era

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by Dylan Grant

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Effective April 30th, 2012, I am retiring from Intramural Sports. Forever. I am writing this the day after what has become the marquee event in IM sports, the PiKa vs. Sig Chi soccer game. If you are thinking that an IM soccer game can’t really be a big event, you should come and watch; well, watch as much as you can with 3 or 4 people in front of you. At the game last night, Sig Chi had fans running down 40 yards of the sideline and were packed 3 or 4 deep for the entire length. You can do the math yourself but I’ll tell you the student representation is in the hundreds. Each year, that game draws more students than some of our men’s basketball games do. And all of them are standing within three feet of me. But of course, they are nice and courteous, so they don’t scream loudly at every call I make. When it comes to hostile environments for officials, Cameron Indoor and Qwest Field have nothing on Busch Grass.

The PiKa vs. Sig Chi game is just one of the few things I have experienced in IM sports. I have been present for more than 1000 IM games and have officiated about 700. In that time, I’ve seen 75-foot buzzer beaters to win the game; 45-foot shots to cause overtime; hockey goals scored in the final second of a tie game; handling on the goal line in the final two minutes of a playoff game that resulted in a missed penalty kick and a win in kicks from the mark for the handling team (Luis Suarez style); and I’ve seen a player single handedly eliminate 4 opposing dodge ball players in 4 seconds (ok that was me and it wasn’t IM, but still.) I’ve seen highs and lows, and I’ve experienced them. My worst night in IM sports resulted in me losing 3 championship games (2 hockey and one football) by a combined score of 42-11. My worst moment in IM sports gave me: one of my best friends, a great story for interviews, and was made an example of in the next Supervisor meeting – a good example. That hurt worse.

You really can’t know me unless you have seen me play sports. You haven’t seen the kid who ran himself so ragged he literally couldn’t breathe anymore. And this was with 5 minutes left of a soccer game he was losing 6 – 0. Ok, that was high school but you get the idea. You definitely haven’t heard me swear if you haven’t seen me play IM sports (sorry, Mom and Dad).

I hope to leave William and Mary IM as the college’s most prolific and accomplished official. I’m pretty sure the 700 games won’t be beat. I’m less sure about the accomplishments, but in my four years I’m the only official to work all 7 team sports and by the time the 27th comes I (hopefully) will have done the highest level of championship game in every sport. As these goals express, you’ve probably never seen the excessively driven side of me unless you’ve seen me play sports. Every day, every game, every half I want to be better. Sports provide me with an opportunity to always be better, and to always have room to grow, in a setting where even when I make a mistake the slate is (mostly) wiped clean and I can work on doing better next time.

I certainly don’t find it too surprising that I have been marking the progression of my senior year through the end of IM seasons. In the fall, football and hockey weren’t too hard to deal with (other than the whole losing three games thing). This spring though, as basketball finished and as soccer is slowly melting away, I am realizing more and more that my time at college is coming to an end. Certainly this piece itself speaks to that as much as everyone else.

And just like that I have nothing left to say.

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