The Phoenix Cup has taken its rightful place in the Law School, earned by the sporty scholars who emerged at the end of the 2011-2012 academic year as the most successful and involved graduate intramural athletes at the University of Chicago.
The Department of Physical Education and Athletics awards the Phoenix Cup based on a point system that takes into account regular-season and tournament wins, and also participation. Points are deducted for forfeits or ejections. The Phoenix Cup is the award for graduate programs; undergraduate intramural players strive for the Maroon Cup.
The Law School finished the year with 2,065 points. Law teams won championships in graduate co-ed flag football, graduate co-ed indoor volleyball, whiffleball, and co-ed wallyball. Law students also earned points for participating in tennis, bowling, basketball, broomball, indoor soccer, outdoor soccer, Ultimate Frisbee, and innertube water polo, which is exactly what it sounds like.
The Pritzker School of Medicine, which won the Cup last year, took second, and the Booth School of Business came in third. This is only the second year of the Cup, but athletic officials expect a lot of competition between these three schools in the foreseeable future, said Brian Bock, Assistant Athletic Director. Eight other graduate schools also placed.
The Law School loves that its students take a break from studying to engage in a little friendly competition and get to know other graduate students, said Shannon Bartlett, Associate Director of Student Affairs. The Cup – a surprisingly heavy gold-colored cup mounted on a solid wood block – is sitting on the corner of her desk until administrators decide where it will be displayed. The Law School doesn’t keep track of the number of students who play intramurals, but the Athletic Department will start doing so next year.
Last year, Kourtney Hahn, JD/MBA ‘14, played basketball and football. Intramurals have helped him make new friends at the Law School, he said.
“Playing together on a team creates a point of connectivity that you may not have enjoyed with a fellow law student otherwise,” Hahn said.
And then there’s the benefit of forgetting about schoolwork, even for an hour.
“It also helps to keep conversations interesting in the Green lounge, instead of talking about rule against perpetuities we can talk about who won or loss and how well someone played,” Hahn added.
Patrick Barry, ’12, said intramurals helped him “turn strangers into teammates.” And not only do you meet new people, but you meet “new versions of people,” he added, using Rob La Manna, ’13, as an example.
“For example, I never saw Rob LaManna slide tackle people in Torts class,” he said. “But I often saw Rob La Manna slide tackle people in our weekly intramural soccer games.”
The Cup is not won without that kind of passion.