Pundits put forward several theories to explain JE’s formidable dynasty.
Branford IM Secretary Genie O’Donnell, BR ’14, believes JE has a culture that emphasizes wide participation in Intramurals. She claims never to have witnessed JE forfeit a match. For the most part they play fair, she admits. But fairness often takes a backseat to JE’s brutally competitive spirit.
Jake Viola, JE ’13, said that JE’s strength lies in the recruiting machine that allows them to mobilize. This might explain why their delegation on the field is often compared to Hannibal’s army.
Saybrook IM secretary John Ettinger, SY ’12, suggested there might be a more scandalous explanation for JE’s Tyng Cup dominance.
“You hear a lot about how building a successful IM program is all about instilling a ‘culture,’” Ettinger said. “In this case, I think we’re talking about a drug culture.”
The pressure to perform, he contended, has turned JE’s IM program into a hotbed for steroid activity. While Ettinger would not guarantee that JE freshmen were “pumped full of Primabol” he did not reject the possibility.
Further investigation could neither confirm nor deny the allegations of performance-enhancing drug use, partly due to Master Laurens’ aversion to my proposal of a randomly administered urine test.
Under strict instruction to avoid the press, students involved in the college’s renowned intramural program nearly universally refused to comment.
Such rampant success cannot go unnoticed. Some of the 11 other colleges have begun initiatives to regain IM respectability. Branford College recently rolled out a promotion to incentivize intramural participation by offering “Buttery Bucks” to its athletes. But with more than 100 points separating JE from second-place Davenport, experts say it would take a miracle (or a drug test, I mean, come on) to overtake the defending champions.
History shows that the Tyng Cup winner tends to hold the title for consecutive years. Silliman reigned supreme from 2005-2008, and Ezra Stiles from 2002-2005. Until another college gains traction and amasses the determination of JE, one can only expect their legacy to grow.
As Ettinger put it, “At the end of the day, dominating intramurals consistently is about asking yourself, ‘How far am I willing to go to win a game?’ This isn’t kids’ stuff—this is the big leagues.”