It began with a promise. It ended with a championship ring.
Last April, as OD center John “No You Didn’t” Kirkowski left Shad after a controversial intramural championship defeat, he promised the OD team one thing: “If we get back to the final intramural game in 2006, I will take us to the promise land.”
Mission accomplished, Kirkowski. Last Wednesday, in front of a capacity crowd at Shad, the OD team defeated the Staff team 45-41 in a hotly-contested HBS “A-League” intramural basketball championship final. Kirkowski led the way for his OD team with 20 points.
“You have to give a lot of credit to the Staff team. They played us unbelievably well and are classy players,” Kirkowski said after the game as he sprayed champagne on his teammates. “But I made a promise, I swore I’d always remember: No defeat, no surrender.”
As usual, OD used the same formula they relied on the past two years – teamwork, selflessness and hard work. Moreover, the team always deferred to the hot hands – in this game it was Kirkowski and shooting guard Cas “The Bulge” Schneller (OD).
“Like Kirkowski, Cas has been incredible all year – defense, playmaking, the guy has it all – and man is that left-hand smooth,” said part-time coach and full-time sage/LCA professor Henry “Hank” Reiling. “But on any given day, with this team it can be anyone leading the team in offensive scoring.”
Reiling was referring to the balanced OD scoring attack throughout the playoff tournament. In the quarterfinal playoff game, point guard Matthew “Skip to My” Louie (OD) had 6 three-pointers and forward Scott “Robert Redford” Spieth showed off his military-like shooting stroke with 16 points. In the semi-final game, forward Charlie “Da Kid” Delacey and combo guard/forward Travis “Inspector Gadget” Merrill each had 18 points.
“This team has a lot of weapons, but everyone sacrifices for the ultimate goal – winning,” said Spieth, who broke his year-long silence to the media after this game (see previous Harbus article titled “Spieth Upset With Media After Being Removed from People’s ‘Most Beautiful’ After 10-Year Streak”). “I mean, did you see Merrill going out there on a bum ankle and playing the game like Willis Reed? That guy embodies OD basketball.and man, can he bring out the fans.”
In addition to an incredible fan base, some of which wore custom t-shirts with designer “D” letters on the front, OD was buoyed by solid role performances from forwards Billy “Big Game” Rahm (OD) and Nico “The Microwave” Iacuzzi (OD).
“Like my mom and dad always said, there is no ‘I’ in team,” commented Louie in a post-game interview as he took off his famous arm sleeve, which covers multiple tattoos. “Billy, Nico, and my dawg Dave ‘Big’ Alpern (OD) and Dave ‘The General’ Wagner (OD) gave us crucial performances all year; we couldn’t have done it without them and the OD fans.I’m just trying to enjoy the moment and not worry about the future.”
Louie was referring to the rumored break-up of OD team after this season. While “Da Kid” Delacey is putting out feelers that he’d like to jump straight from B-school to the NBA (Note: scouts love his physical ability but question his basketball wardrobe, which consists mainly of tight t-shirts and purple shoes), most of the OD team are veterans, and are seriously contemplating retirement.
“I’m ecstatic that we won, but thinking about OD breaking up – I haven’t heard a sadder story since Color Me Badd called it quits,” noted Merrill as he wiped tears from his eyes, never afraid to express his emotions in front of the media. “But if it’s going to happen, I leave with no regrets. My Uncle Gene once told me – hit it strong and hit it hard, and leave it all out on the court – and that’s what I did.”
Whether or not they stay together, the championship season memories will last forever.
“We had our rough spots as a team – and I’d like to publicly apologize again for griping about practice – but I feel privileged to be a part of this team and Section D,” summarized Schneller. “This team wanted to win it so bad for the section. We have a lot of pride and did it for them.”
Other Notes: OD’s stellar basketball record over two years was 20-1.OD’s B-League team lost a tough game in the championship final.as a section, OD has won a number of intramural championships, including basketball, football, and soccer.critics call the referring of the final game very professional.in addition to OD’s roster, other notable HBS intramural basketball players included Brian Laibow (OA), Ibrahim Majeed (OC), Eric Sager (OG), Chris Crawford (OI), Tyler Hobbs (OJ), Rob Buxton (NB), Seth Blackley (NE), Chris Allen (NI), Matt Christensen (NJ), and Duggan Jensen (NJ).