While most of the sports world spent last weekend reflecting on what was happening in the world, senior School of Business Administration student Pat Schmidt was playing in the intramural tennis tournament, just as he has the last three years. And just as he has the last three years, he and his doubles partner cakewalked through the tournament, ultimately winning the final match 10-2.
Schmidt is an avid sports fan, who follows football, basketball and, yes, tennis.
What”s more, he also makes it a point to play all of those sports, as he also captured an IM championship t-shirt in football last year.
IM sports are “pretty competitive,” he said. “There are a lot of kids who played in high school and only a few can play varsity sports here.”
Then there are some who use IM sports as an opportunity to drink a few beers before getting a little fresh air.
IM tennis is played as a team sport. Each team has two singles players and a doubles team, and the team with the most wins at the end wins the tournament.
As you might guess, IM tennis isn”t much of a spectator sport, as a reporter and a few girlfriends were the only ones who bothered to watch last weekend”s tournament.
But nobody playing last Sunday was playing for the attention. They were playing for the same reason that everyone plays IM sports a desire to play competitive sports and a desire to stay in shape.
Everyone who played in last weekend”s tennis tournament played tennis in high school, and while none of them are good enough to play for Michigan, they all enjoy the competition, and the opportunity to play with friends.
Pat”s team, Uno Mas, was made up of fellow high school teammates Paul Tarnazsky and Mark Gorski as well as former roommate Caleb Noordmans. Schmidt and Noordmans, who won the doubles title the last two years, decided to “mix it up a little,” as Schmidt said, and not play doubles together. Instead Schmidt won the title with former high school partner Tarnazsky.
The two “journeymen,” as they call themselves in reference to doubles teams who play to eat, won the No. 3 doubles title together in high school.
“Not even Jordan” won a title four years in a row, Schmidt joked afterwards.
The competitive nature of IM sports was exemplified in last year”s semifinals, when Pat and Noordmans played a doubles semifinals match where Noordmans played shoeless because he wore prohibited black-soled shoes on the brand new Varsity Tennis Center Courts.
What compounded the problem was when their opponents continuously attempted drop shot after drop shot, in an attempt to throw Noordmans off his game and keep him running after he had developed blisters all over his feet.
“We started the match and the manager said that Caleb couldn”t wear dark shoes,” Schmidt said. “So then they started hitting drop shots, but we still kicked their ass.”
Actually, the match almost came to fisticuffs.
Schmidt and Noordmans were upset with the way their opponents were playing and at one point, Schmidt hit an overhead right at his opponent. Words were exchanged from both sides but ultimately Schmidt and Noordmans remained unrattled and won.
This is just one example of the “pretty competitive” nature of IM sports.
So now that Schmidt”s days of playing tennis at Michigan are over, what”s next?
“We”ll play football again,” he said.
Raphael Goodstein can be reached