In high school, we were all told that if we worked hard, stayed late and played well, we would have a chance to earn a coveted scholarship to a school that had Division I teams. Some of us did achieve this through countless hours spent in the gym and on the field, but an overwhelming majority of us did not (and carry immense amounts of jealousy for those that did).
Though we failed at making it big in athletics after high school, we always have the chance to prove we are the best of the most mediocre through intramural sports. No matter what sport you play, you always have the chance to relive the glory days of high school athletics through a serious but not too serious intramural experience. These everyday, intramural heroes inspire us everyday and keep us amazed by their mediocre performance.
Name: Tyler “Shaq” Madsen
Listed Height: 6’7”
Actual Height: Likely 6’9”
Intramural Sport: Basketball
Greatest Athletic Achievement: His brother, Kyle Madsen ‘10, played at OSU alongside Mike Conley, Jr. and Greg Oden OR. Can run a full court sprint in under 30 seconds.
Our first intramural all-star profile is on Tyler “Shaq”/”Mad Dawg” Madsen, a sophomore from Dublin, Ohio. Tyler is a determined student-athlete, always making time to hit the books as well as all of his mid-range jump shots. Tyler was gracious enough to sit down with me for an interview where he took me through the struggles of balancing intramural basketball, homework, and his three adoring fans.
Tyler begins everyday at 6:30 a.m. by hitting the snooze button approximately nine times, waking him up just in time for his first class of the day at 8:30 a.m. On the way to class, he fuels up like any good athlete would with a caramel macchiato from Starbucks, and a brown sugar cinnamon Pop-Tart from a vending machine.
As he finishes his breakfast on the walk to class, he checks his intramural basketball team’s group chat. Tyler’s team, the Oxford Globetrotters, is chatting away about their game that night. He feels the uneasiness in his stomach build with the thought of physical exertion that may exceed 20 minutes.
Throughout the day, Tyler mentally prepares himself for the game with a medley of upbeat songs that keep his level of pregame hype steady. He draws from his Spotify playlist “HYPE Pregame Jamz” to fuel this stream of adrenaline with songs like “All I Do is Win” by DJ Khaled, “Forever” by Drake, and “Call Me Maybe” by Carly Rae Jepsen. As the game draws closer and closer, Tyler confirms the uniform for the night with his teammates: black shorts, and a tank top from their fraternity’s formal (which some will unbelieveably, but predictably forget).
He returns home, and immediately begins to rummage through his drawers for his shooting sleeve, rec specs, and torn-up Nike Hyperdunks so that he has plenty of time to do homework before the game.
Tyler takes the time to make his way to La Mia, citing the need to carbo-load and “beat them with better fueling” as a reason to gorge on two plates of shrimp scampi. With only a few hours before the game, our hero makes his way back home to work on a paper that inevitably turns into watching basketball highlight videos on YouTube.
Finally ready for the game, he packs his gym bag with all of the essentials: a water bottle, a Gatorade, dry protein and a shaker bottle, a towel, body wash, basketball shoes, a granola bar, his lucky rabbit’s foot, and a signed copy of “Space Jam.”
While driving to the rec center, the aux cord is under his teammate Tommy’s control and the musical mood shifts into an exclusively Chainsmokers playlist. The conversation between Tyler and Tommy, centers around one question: how good is the other team? In the previous week, their team had easily taken down an undersized team of freshmen and were hoping for a similar treat this week.
When they arrive an estimated five minutes before tip-off, they do their best to warm up by only shooting three-pointers, and designating their team coach Jacob to retrieve all shots that inevitably miss their mark.
Without even a thought of stretching, the team finishes their warm up and gathers around coach Jacob for his pregame wisdom. Dressed in a full suit and sunglasses, Jacob bears a striking resemblance to no professional coach but he doesn’t let that get him down. He begins berating the other team, which gives his team some amount of confidence before they begin.
After the coach gives Tyler an unwelcomed, but well intended slap on the behind, he lines up for the tipoff. Tyler, the only player on his team that eclipses six feet, is elected as their tip man.
Upon securing possession, the Oxford Globetrotters make their way down the court, where Tyler assumes his position below the rim. Ignoring screams from coach Jacob to push the ball up the court, Tyler implores his team to “FOCUS ON THE FUNDAMENTALS, BOYS”.
With limited off-ball movement, the point-guard grows frustrated and heaves up a shot from well beyond the three-point line, missing his mark and garnering many “Aaaaaaairball” chants from the opposing bench. After a few possessions back and forth, Tyler, matched up against a much smaller player, begins to catch fire. Though more out of general exhaustion than laziness, Tyler can’t help but to walk his way back on defense, where he inadvertently cherry picks lay-up after lay-up.
Halftime is called, and the red-faced and sweaty Globetrotters make it back to the bench. The game is tied up at 16, and the team is lamenting the days where juice boxes and orange slices were a half-time norm.
The game resumes, and Tyler feels a sudden surge of energy, likely from fiery halftime speech by coach Jacob. Despite no obvious improvement in his own play, his team begins to slowly build a lead. The lead gives the team a false cushion and encourages them to start showboating too early. They would yell “Kobe” before inevitably missing a mid range shot, and would immediately contest the miss with the ref, arguing for a foul to be called in their favor.
The cocky play eventually catches up with them and they lose their lead, as well as the game. Frustrated, Tyler tosses an open water bottle to the other end of the gym, and quickly realizes this to be a large mistake and rushes to clean up the mess. He mentally works to reestablish the balance of fun and serious competition, realizing his last action may have been unwarranted.
Coach Jacob, disappointed and likely headed to a local watering hole to drown his sorrows, dismisses the team and tells them to prepare better for the next game. Tyler hops back in his car and begins to explain his post-game frustrations to his passenger Tommy, drawing comparisons to his team blowing a lead, and the Warriors blowing a 3-1 lead in the NBA Championship with a unanimous MVP. Tyler finishes the day with a cold shower, and a desperate attempt at finishing some assignments before falling asleep, only to wake up yearning for another opportunity to step out on the court with his team.