Three stu­dents compete in a Feb. 19, 1959 game of intra­mural bas­ketball game. | Col­legian Archives

If you think people in Hillsdale take intra­mural sports seri­ously today (not many people would make this claim, but just in case), you should look back to 1956 when The Col­legian ded­i­cated an entire column to Intra­murals entitled “Intra­mural Scene.” Filled with stats and play-by-play reports, the column was an infor­mative campus news source. However, the author, Howard Johnson, still managed to add some flair to his recurring piece.

When dis­cussing a baseball game in a May 1956 issue of The Col­legian, Johnson wrote, “The game was filled with errors and poor plays on the part of both teams. The best of these was a high fly hit between home and third base by Delt catcher Paul ‘Garbage’ Trichel, both ran to it yelling ‘I’ve got it!’ Seems they didn’t see each other and you can guess the rest.” What a scene, it is always a real shocker to come across Mr. Garbage making a trash play.

Despite only reporting on intra­mural games, Johnson managed to write with a tone that left readers on the edge of their seats, waiting for more action out of the amateur league.

For example, on Nov. 13, 1958, the author wrote, “The fra­ternity men moved with full force in the opening quarter and threaten to turn the game into a full slaughter.” Just enough drama, just enough accuracy. Johnson was exhibiting big jour­nal­istic skills.

This seems to have matched the attitude on campus, because Johnson reports of voting for an intra­mural all-star team. I’m not saying that Hillsdale used to be full of recre­ational hardos, but logic and reason fol­lowing this column do seem to point in that direction.

And Johnson was not above calling out his readers for not sharing his enthu­siasm for intra­mural sports. On Oct. 10, 1957, he wrote, “All intra­mural football games start at 4 p.m. at the baseball field. Turnouts for some of these games have not been up to expec­ta­tions.” I am dis­ap­pointed in the true fans of intra­mural baseball for not doing their part and showing up.

Inter­est­ingly, Johnson reported on teams from all the fra­ter­nities, boys dor­mi­tories, the inde­pen­dents, and a team entitled “The Misfits.” Little infor­mation is given regarding the members of this team, but people who are neither Greek nor inde­pendent are def­i­nitely misfits, because those are the only two options available.

Other inter­esting team names included the Damper Dans and the Field House team.

Intra­mural sports in the earlier days of the ’Dale were def­i­nitely taken very seri­ously. I say we bring some of that “Leave-it all-on-the-court” com­pet­itive spirit back to the games today.