The seemingly unbeatable IM basketball team, School Bus, reached the end of the road last Tuesday, unable to defend its championship title in the final round of playoffs. The magical ride was over, despite the fact that School Bus had previously dominated the Monday Recreational League, going undefeated with a 6-0 record for the entire eight-week season.
In a close game that reached double overtime, School Bus came up short in the championship by only three points, losing to a Fletcher grad school team. The squad was able to pull out a big win over The Coalition of the Illin in the semifinal round to get to the championships.
The players remember from last year the experience of being the underdog who shined once playoffs rolled around. School Bus captain Aniruddha “The Nene Bird” Nene described how the team was the underdog going into the playoffs last year against IAD, captained by the Daily’s Ben Hoffman.
“They had beaten us earlier and were undefeated,” Nene said. “Going into the game, IAD was overly confident and talked a lot of smack about us. However, we won it all.”
This fall, it looked as though School Bus would defend its title and claim the championship once again. The team was supported early on in the season by several strong performances from Jamil Ludd, a.k.a. “The Bus Driver.” Elad Cohen, Grady Hedstrom, and Sol Carson contributed to a strong defense every game. Peter Queruvin, Joe Travaglini, and Kenji Kaneko stepped up with great scoring. Alex Vichinsky, despite missing games due to varsity sport commitments, helped the team win the games he attended.
“This season, everyone knew what their role was and gelled together really well,” Nene said.
Despite losing in the championship game, Nene has a positive outlook on the season due to the fun shared by all and the strong support expressed by School Bus’ dedicated fans.
“At the end of the day, even though it is just intramural basketball, it means a lot to every member of the School Bus,” Nene said. “And we can still boast that we are the only intramural team with loyal fans that attend every game.”
In Monday Indoor League soccer, the Veterans capped off an outstanding undefeated season with a championship win over Dem Apples on Nov. 8. The Veterans had previously won the IM soccer tournament in the fall of 2002 and in the spring of 2003, back when most players lived in the International House and the team called itself I-House.
Captain of the Veterans, Filip Maes, attributed the team’s success to the fact that they have been playing together for a long time and have always come to the games prepared.
“I don’t think there is a secret to our success,” Maes said. “But our passion, solidarity, and preparation for the games are some influential factors.”
The Veterans went to the Gantcher Center early before games to warm up and talk about strategy, which often included making sure there were enough subs for each match. The Veterans are also grateful to the growing popularity of IM sports at Tufts, and they appreciate the growing competition.
“Most of us have been playing soccer since we were kids,” Maes said. “We are delighted that the intramural tournaments are getting more competitive.”