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Golden Gate Xpress

The Student News Site of San Francisco State University

Golden Gate Xpress

The Student News Site of San Francisco State University

Golden Gate Xpress

Students build skill, comradery as intramural season nears postseason

Intramurals are open to students to register for at IMLeagues
Andrew Fogel
Two players play defense during the intramural basketball league semi-finals on Monday, April 22, 2024. (Andrew Fogel/ Golden Gate Xpress)

On various weeknights at San Francisco State University, athletes gather to play against their friends or students they’ve never met before in a casual — yet intense — game of intramural sports.

Many athletes love playing sports but struggle to find a balance between enjoying what they do and playing competitively. Intramurals allow students to experience both while having something to do alongside close friends.

Fourth-year Saaed Jemal has experienced wins and losses playing intramural basketball at SFSU. After winning the championship in the B League during the Fall 2023 season, his team, the Bubbly Bouncy Ballers, moved to a tougher division and failed to win a game this season.

The Bubbly Bouncy Ballers have made a habit of playing team basketball and not forcing one player to carry the team on their own, a tactic that won them the championship last season. The team is built from friendships that existed before team members played intramural basketball together.

“When you pass the ball a lot and get each other good shots, it makes the game so much easier for everybody,” Jemal said. “Individuals win tickets — teams win championships.”

On Wednesday, April 17, the team played its first playoff game of the season and nearly beat CityBoyz, one of the best teams in the higher-level division of intramural basketball at SFSU. After leading for most of the game, they came up short with a final score of 50-47.

“Obviously, it’s heartbreaking and we should have won it,” said Raul Pantoja, one of the leading scorers on the Bubbly Bouncy Ballers. “We didn’t finish at the very end, but at least we came together and were playing as a unit.”

With the Bubbly Bouncy Ballers ahead 47- 46 with just over 20 seconds remaining, Jaden Fontana of CityBoyz drove to the basket while guarded by two opposing players. While hanging in the air, Fontana floated the ball in to earn CityBoyz a one-point lead with 20.4 seconds on the clock. His teammate then got a steal and sank two free throws to seal the win.

“I told myself I need to get to the rack and hopefully get a go-ahead bucket, and that’s just what I did,” Fontana said. 

Fontana said he plays with and against many of his friends, motivating him. He says that a large part of what he says makes intramural sports competitive and fun for players.

“If you have an interest in playing and just want to play to get some cardio or get your game up, I’d definitely recommend intramurals,” Fontana said.

Despite being denied a title win this year, the Bubbly Bouncy Ballers had a great experience with intramurals and many players said they will be returning next season. 

“I would encourage anyone to play this because you’re gonna get competitive play,” Pantoja said. “It might be one of your last times being able to be in a team setting for a school, so it doesn’t hurt to join.”

The GOATS, a team that was undefeated during the Fall 2023 season before facing the Bubbly Bouncy Ballers, stayed in the same division for Spring 2024 in hopes that players can bounce back from the last postseason’s heartbreaking exit. 

“Now, we call ourselves the Redeem Team because this is our year to redeem ourselves,” said Nicholas Romero-Koh, who is currently in his third season with the team. 

The team has a record of 5-0 this season and won their first playoff game against the Kaiju Killaz, who finished the regular season with a record of 1-3-1. In two seasons, the Redeem Team has lost only one game. This is in part because team members are all close friends and have a bond on and off the court.

“It helps that the people on our team are the people we do runs with regularly on open court,” said Trennick Depaynos, who is currently in his second season with the team. “We’re confident that we can get past the second round and go to the final.”

Their division consists of eight teams of SFSU students and the playoff games will take place on Monday nights, with the championship game at 7 p.m. on April 29. 

The other division, which is more challenging due to the higher level of play, will host playoff games on upcoming Wednesday nights. The championship game will be at 7:15 p.m. on May 1. All of the games will be played on the North Court of the 2-Court Gym in the Mashouf Wellness Center. 

Other intramural sports at SFSU start their playoff stages this week as well. Volleyball games take place on the North Court of the 2-Court Gym in the Mashouf Wellness Center on Tuesday nights. Badminton occurs at the Multi-Purpose Activity Court Gym in the Mashouf Wellness Center at 6 p.m. on Thursday nights. On Thursday nights, women’s 5-v-5 soccer takes place on the Mashouf Wellness Center Recreation Field. 

Co-Rec Soccer is split up into two days. Two divisions will host their playoff games on Wednesday nights, while the other division will play on Thursday nights. All intramural soccer takes place at the MWC Recreation Field. More information can be found at the SFSU Spring 2024 Intramurals Page on IMLeagues.

Intramural basketball and volleyball supervisor Ethan Remmers feels the season has been a huge success, citing increased attendance.

“The bleachers are often packed with people cheering on their friends,” Remmers said. “At the end of the day, the winning team gets a cool t-shirt, but you can tell the players are playing for pride.”

There are many ways students can join an intramural sport next season. Some do it by showing up to courts and fields at school and making friends with people who play. Others simply join the league as a free agent or request to join a random team. IMLeagues is the place to do this. 

“I always see people playing here,” said Isaac Hull, who plays co-rec soccer on Wednesdays for a team that his coworker started. “I’m sure that if you come here a couple times a week for a while, you’ll meet some people and pick up a teammate.”

The prospect might be nerve-racking for some students, but at the end of the day, everyone is in it for the same thing: to have a good time. 

“I would say don’t be afraid to just join a random team,” Pantoja said. “At the end of the day, you’re doing it for the love of the game.”

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About the Contributors
Jake Knoeller
Jake Knoeller, Staff Reporter
Jake Knoeller (he/him) is a reporter for Golden Gate Xpress. He is majoring in journalism and minoring in communications. He was born in Eureka, California and raised in Humboldt County. He currently lives in San Francisco. He previously worked for The Lumberjack, the student newspaper of Cal Poly Humboldt. During his free time, Jake enjoys playing or watching soccer, listening to music, and exploring neighborhoods in San Francisco.
Andrew Fogel
Andrew Fogel, Photographer
Andrew Fogel is a photographer for Golden Gate Xpress and Xpress Magazine who’s majoring in photojournalism and minoring in labor and employment studies. If he’s not taking photos, Andrew can be found rooting for the various Philadelphia sports teams. He aspires to be either a staff photographer or a sports photographer in the future.

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