January 30, 2015
Basketball is a sport many people enjoy, but not everybody wants to play high school ball. Intramural basketball is the answer. Here at OHS, the supervisor is Matt Skala. In what is commonly called “murley ball,” any student in 9-12 grade and isn’t in a winter sport can play. Typically, each age group makes a few teams. This year, there are ten teams total. The season runs from the beginning of January through the end of February. The captain of each team is responsible for collecting the $25 fee and waiver form from each player of their team before the first game. Each team has to have at least one girl on the court or else they only play with four guys. The rules are basically the same as an actual basketball game. There are no free throws, for the sake of time, which is two 20 minute running time halves. Varsity basketball players are the refs for these games, but because of the wide variety of skill levels participating, they don’t call the game as tight. All types of athletes play. Many former basketball players are playing, as well as kids who have never played basketball before but want to do something during the winter season. Games are played at 7:30 and 8:20 at night on any Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday when the gym is open. Not every single day has games going on, but each team plays 7 regular season games and then it is single elimination playoff. Each teams’ overall record determines their seed in the playoffs. Every game night all three OHS courts are being used at once in order to get the maximum amount of games in. The bottom line is that people want to play, but there is very scarce gym time.
There are multiple reasons students play murley ball. When senior Jake Gallagher was asked why he plays, he said, “I play because I still love basketball but didn’t really want to go through the grind of a winter sport anymore, so murley gives me a chance to keep playing basketball without having to commit such a significant portion of my time to the sport.” This is the case for most of the players on why they wanted to play. Another senior, Grant Wehsler, said, “I play murley ball to keep playing the game of basketball. I used to play but stopped when I got to high school and it’s fun to keep playing. Plus I’m super competitive and like that I still have the chance to compete in a sport during an off season.” Some of the girls are past basketball players too, while some have never played before. Senior Allison Falken said, “I wanted to play basketball mainly because I thought it would be something fun to do with two of my friends also being on the team. And I’ve never played before, so I just wanted to try it out.” Director Matt Skala said, “It’s exciting to see all the kids who still wanted a chance to play basketball again or even for their first time. I’m happy that they’re all enjoying this experience.” The teams love playing with some of their friends in what is still a competitive setting. The senior teams realize this is probably their last time ever playing organized basketball with some of their long-lasting childhood friends. Senior Dylan Lattery said, “I’m going to miss a lot of these guys I’m playing with or against. I’m glad I get one last time to play a sport with them before everyone parts ways.”
Intramural basketball is great for all these kids for so many different reasons. The younger kids get to have a blast facing off against their peers for years to come. The seniors get to play a sport with one another for possibly one last time, and to make a run to win it all together. The one thing about basketball is that anybody can play, this is why the league is so popular. It may not be all the top-level talent, but it’s top-level fun.