by Brian Ortega
The bleachers are packed. The crowd is in a frenzy, yelling and screaming. Both teams are fighting for a win.
By now, you are thinking maybe game seven of the World Series or a World Cup Final between Brazil and France, right?
Try the Optimators who took on Why Play? in the championship game of Intramural Soccer.
That’s right. Intramural soccer has been the talk around campus for a while now.
Not familiar with how it works?
For the most part, it is the same basic fundamentals of the way regular indoor soccer is played. Games start at 9:30 p.m. and end close to 1 a.m, Thursday in the old gym.
The games consist of two 15-minute halves. Both teams are allowed five players on the court including the goalie. Two referees oversee the games at all times.
It sounds innocent enough, right?
On any given Thursday night, things will get heated and controversial with players being penalized to sit out or some even being ejected for misconduct.
As you look on to the game, you cannot help but laugh at just how seriously the players take it.
“Come on; hurry up; you’re lagging!” or even, “What are you doing? Move. Move!” are just some of the more mild player encouragements common on the court.
Yet competition was evident, as was the case with the championship game between the Optimators and Why Play?
What started off innocently with a friendly exchange of handshakes later turned into intense rivalry.
The game began strong as goalie for Why Play?, Ryan Cairney, stood strong, not letting through any of the six shots on goal within the first three minutes.
On the other side, goalie Adam Raymond did his best in keeping the points off the board in a few close calls inside the box.
The first goal came with a minute left in the first half. Why Play’s Audrey Butcher passed it through the middle to Travis Lerma as Lerma kicked it right between the legs of the goalkeeper.
As the game came to its midway point, the score had Why Play? ahead 1-0 .
“Great game so far,” said Referee Jason Cooper in the midst of being heckled by fans.
The second half brought a more physical aspect as more contact was very evident with both teams.
The next goal came as Jerrod Hessler and Butcher of Why Play? used tactical passing to put one by the Optimator’s goalkeeper five minutes into the second half.
Why Play? then capitalized off the momentum and scored again two minutes later. Butcher once again went to battle with goalie Raymond and was victorious off a difficult shot that sent Raymond scrambling.
As the game wound down to the final minutes, Hessler of Why Play? took a solid shot outside the area to finish off the game.
The final score was 5-0 with Why Play? victorious in the final match.
“I’m horrible, but my team is awesome,” said Stuart Leary of Why Play?
Hessler of Why Play? was also awarded the Golden Boot for a season total of nine goals.
“In the first half I was worried, but we came through. They couldn’t handle the J-Rod.” Hessler said.
“It was great; we played awesome,” said Jessica Espana of Why Play?
As both teams gave each other high fives and shook hands, the players began to talk about what happened in the game.
“Our team did our best; we got to the finals, and we are all very proud of that. They were just really quick and good,” said Kris Offer of the Optimators.
“It felt great adding two critical goals in the intense match,” Butcher said. “I just wanted to help my team win.”
As the fans all walked out, Chris Jones of the Optimators commented to another member of his team.
“We played hard; we had fun, and that’s what counts,” Jones said.
Journalism operations manager at the University of La Verne. Production manager and business manager of the Campus Times.