Established 1874.

The Oberlin Review

IM Softball Draws from All Corners of Campus

Seniors Dan Bisno and Gabe Jacobson joke around before an intramural softball game. The duo plays for Shirley’s Angels, a team comprised of ’Sco employees and enthusiasts. Intramural softball was set to kick off Tuesday, but rainy weather has delayed play. Some of the league’s teams will take to North Fields to play on Saturday.

Courtesy of Dan Bisno

Seniors Dan Bisno and Gabe Jacobson joke around before an intramural softball game. The duo plays for Shirley’s Angels, a team comprised of ’Sco employees and enthusiasts. Intramural softball was set to kick off Tuesday, but rainy weather has delayed play. Some of the league’s teams will take to North Fields to play on Saturday.

Alex McNicoll, Contributing Sports editor

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Passing by North Fields on a Wednesday afternoon, echoes of teammates calling for a pop-fly or the crack of a ball popping off a bat can be heard from over a hundred yards away. This isn’t a varsity team warming up for its next game; it’s intramural softball, where students from all corners of campus take the chance to exercise and compete. But with team names like Jose Queervo and Spicy Pork Bowl, it’s clear that intramural softball is largely about having fun.

Rules are made or bent so that players of all skill levels can compete and enjoy themselves. The five-strike rule strives to give everyone the best chance to make contact with the ball. While most players are new to the sport, Beatrix Parola, senior co-captain of the Peskin Fluties, said there is no shortage of competitive drive, support from peers and enthusiasm.

“Intramural softball is the most unifying thing on Oberlin Campus,” Parola said. “I think that it brings literally every group of people together — jocks, hipsters, etc. It’s the best. Period.”

Oberlin’s intramural sports are rooted in inclusivity, historically offering some of the first opportunities for women to compete on campus. To honor that tradition, teams maintain the rule that there must be at least three women on the field at all times.

New to this intramural softball season is a merger between rival teams, the Pecan Sandies and the Skinflutes, who recently came together to become the Peskin Fluties. Even in the league’s most bitter rivalry, one that spanned multiple generations of Obies, there was unity and respect. Senior co-captain of the Peskin Fluties Hunter Zepeda said he believes that community vibe is paramount.

“In intramural softball you’re really able to interact with people who belong to different parts of the school,” he said. “ There’s a sense of camaraderie because you have a [drink] in one hand and a glove in the other hand. It doesn’t matter if you know how to play, as long as you know how to talk crap.”

In fact, experience is almost discouraged in intramural softball. It is an unspoken taboo for members of Oberlin’s softball or baseball team to compete. Teams usually consist of groups of friends or campus organizations such as OSTEEL or Oberlin’s Bike Co-Op that decide to get a team together. Sophomore Eli Roane, team captain of Miller Lite, definitely had a fresh-blood mentality when choosing his teammates.

“Of the 16 people on my team, I’d say maybe three or four have played baseball in the past, and maybe one or two have played softball,” Roane said. “Most people don’t play any sports, or even know the rules of baseball. One of my friends just got her parents to ship her a glove, so that was a pretty big step.”

But experience builds, as most people who play one season are bound to come back and compete on one of the 16 teams the following year. Senior Dan Bisno, a member of Shirley’s Angels, a team comprised of ’Sco employees and enthusiasts, has competed with multiple teams throughout his time at Oberlin.

“I’ve been playing since my freshman year,” Bisno wrote in an e-mail to the Review. “I remember a lot of the older students really setting the tone of the league as a super fun and inclusive environment. Having people out there that are making it positive for everyone is really important.”

The season, which officially began Tuesday, is off to a late start due to rainy weather. Despite a shortened season, the players’ enthusiasm has not been deterred. While there may not be enough time to have playoffs, there will still be enough time for players from all different campus scenes to get in the Intramural Softball spirit.

“I don’t want you to strike out on swings if you’re someone I don’t know, but you’re really trying,” Zepeda said. “I want to win, but I also want to have a fun time and other people to have a fun time.”

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Established 1874.