IM Soccer Captains Take Different Approaches

Bronwen Schumacher

Every Tuesday and Thursday, groups of students gather at 4:45 p.m. on North Fields to duke it out in the spring Intramural Soccer Series. This year, the competition is tight, with five teams vying for the No. 1 spot. The teams have come up with creative names, as always: Golden Goals with Betty White, led by junior Maisy Byerly; The Goal Standard, headed by first-year Ian Hunt-Isaak; Program House, led by Kalind Parish; OKR led by junior Casey Silverstein; and reigning fall outdoor champions PUSSYWHIPPED, led by senior Ariel Goodman.

While PUSSYWHIPPED hasn’t been as successful as it was in the fall, Goodman and her team won 4–3 against the Golden Goals on Tuesday. Despite a slew of losses since the season began, Goodman spoke enthusiastically about team morale and the significance of PUSSYWHIPPED on and off the field.

“This team exists to create a safe and powerful space where team members can feel supported and tear shit up on the field like we all know how,” she said via email. “While our team hasn’t been too active this spring, we were this fall’s intramural champions and the runners up in the indoor season.”

Goodman also spoke about the importance of diversity on the team, which she feels heavily contributed to their success in the fall season.

“Most of the teams we played in the fall were completely dominated by cis men, with an average of 1-2 women out on the field at a time,” she said.

While a poor history of inclusion in intramural soccer does exist, as Goodman mentioned, she has pushed her team to promote acceptance, competition and, most of all, fun. Goodman feels that PUSSYWHIPPED is an example of how Oberlin students can use the freedom of intramural sports to create safe spaces for those who may feel unwelcome on other teams.

Director of Recreation and Club Sports Betsy Bruce seconded this notion.

“Intramurals have been going on forever; in fact, they were the precursor for varsity sports, particularly for women,” she said.

The importance of intramural sports in creating an inclusive environment for students cannot be understated. Additionally, for some, intramural sports are a chance for the less athletically inclined to showcase their skills on the field.

Byerly offered another view of the intramural sport in discussing the Golden Goals with Betty White’s loss to PUSSYWHIPPED on Tuesday.

“Everyone played really well, though I would point out junior Alice Fishbein for stepping up and scoring two goals and then taking one for the team and hopping in goal for the second half,” Byerly said. “She claimed she would lose us the game in goal, but she did a great job pressuring the ball and getting herself into the mess of things.”

Byerly also mentioned some key strategies the Golden Goals focus on to secure wins.

“Break ankles morning, noon and night,” she joked. “A number of us are working on feeding the ball up the wings and opening up more shooting options up front.”

Ultimately, spirits are high, as the five teams headed into the playoffs on Thursday. The fourth and fifth seeded teams will play each other for a spot in the semi-finals on Tuesday, May 6.