Fierce competition found on Night League courts

Max Minogue, Staff Reporter

With Night League underway, extracurricular athletes are once again proving themselves and their teams on the courts. And despite the friendly intramural label, the games are as competitive as ever.
Most of those who play Night League do it to have a fun time with friends. Senior Jacalyn Joseph, co-captain of “We Ain’t Joaquim Around,” said, “I don’t think we’re super serious about it– especially because none of us actually play basketball. We just play to have a good time, but of course it’s always fun to win.”
However once the game starts, players leave it all on the court, and the only focus is the game. With such strong competition, aggressiveness is taken as a fact of the play.
Junior Myles Knight said, “I used to get nicked up from players due to their aggressive nature, but now I’m past that and take preventative measures. For example, now I tape my socks up.”
Despite that, Knight said, “It helps me encourage my friends to do something important in their lives.”
Junior Dylan Santacruz agreed about the intensity of the game. “A lot of teams [play Night League competitively], especially in our grade,” Santacruz said. “All teams have fun whether they win or lose, but most teams come to win.” However, Santacruz said that he has never been injured during Night League.
There is no less competition in the girls’ Night League games, according to senior Victoria Tucker. Tucker said, “Me and my team have never experienced anything we can’t handle, but there are definitely some aggressive girls out on the court.”
She went on to talk about the “serious tripping issue” apparent in most games and also remembered a specific injury.
“One time in particular, I was going in for a rebound and a girl stepped on my foot. I fell to the ground and got elbowed in the face on my way down. To recuperate, I had to sit a play out,” Tucker said.
Senior Madeline O’Dwyer said, “I have definitely been pushed and shoved around throughout almost all of the games. I’ve also been punched once and had my eye scratched.”
O’Dwyer never approached a game expecting for it to get scrappy, but agreed with the others. “We are there to play basketball and the expectation is that people are going to be trying hard.”
The one thing that everyone reasserted was that injuries come with the territory.
Junior Nolan Mabie said what draws him to Night League is “the adrenaline rush that comes every time I step on the court.” Mabie played basketball for the New Trier team up until this year and said, “Night league is at least 6 times more intense [than the team],” citing not only injuries, but also verbal attacks and insults being thrown around on the court.
Despite people referencing intense games and an aggressive environment, students have little complaints about Night League, as this is the environment that the players are looking for.
The overwhelming opinion of the competitive atmosphere was summed up by Tucker: “It wasn’t anything we couldn’t handle, but it’s definitely not an extracurricular for the weak.”