The intramural soccer tournament at Lawrence has always been very competitive. Partly thanks to the continuous interest from senior men’s soccer players past and present, such as Charlie Mann, David Caprile, Mike Kumbalek, Simon Newsom, and many other alumni. However, a standout squad adding to the competition each year is the unique one put together by a group of faculty members. This year they call themselves the OFFL All Stars.
The team has been participating in the soccer tournament for a number of years, creating an awesome interaction between students and faculty members. I sought to learn more about the team, its members, and what they have to say about their participation in intramural soccer.
Seasoned veteran Gregory Griffin was able to comment on the level of play each year, claiming, “The competition keeps getting younger and faster. The OFFL All-stars will clearly have to use our cunning and guile to overwhelm the competition”. Proving once again this season they are a force to reckon with, the OFFL All Stars find themselves in the middle of the pack in the standings. With only two rounds left of play, the team obviously wants to secure a pretty comfortable spot in playoffs. I asked what we can expect to see from them in the remaining matches. “Some fine tuning of our three-line rotation should have us peaking come tournament time,” replied Griffin. “Just remember you might see us (your faculty, staff and administrative opponents) in another setting and we have long memories,” added Griffin cheekily.
Learning about the teams’ competitive spirit was certainly entertaining; nonetheless I wanted to know more about the personal side of the team. I was privileged enough to have biology professor Brian Piasecki answer some of my more in-depth questions I had. Naturally, I had to start by asking him which professional team they compared themselves the to in terms of playing style. “I don’t know much about professional “football,” but I think the answer that most people are looking for is either Manchester or Barcelona, right?” I would have to say they have the play of Barcelona personally, perhaps only lacking the presence of a player such as Lionel Messi.
This led to my next question of who he considered their best player. “Our best player as far as I am concerned is our oldest player (not naming any names). I am still in my mid 30’s and can get pretty sore after the games. My hat goes off to our older players,” said Piasecki.
In terms of rivalries among intramural teams there have been some pretty heated matches, recalling the semis and final last spring specifically. Understandably, a rivalry with the faculty team seems like something that most teams in the league try to avoid. “That varies from term-to-term depending on how many players I have had in class. The teams with more players I know, the bigger the rivalry – if you want to call it that,” commented Piasecki on rivalries. Perhaps sending the strongest message yet, heading into the final stretch of the season.