Hi internet world! My name is Clare Sobetski, and I am a senior intern in Whitman’s Admissions Office. That means I have the great pleasure of bragging about the amazing world of Whitman college, a place that has become home in a few short years.

It’s the beginning of the school year here at Whitman, which can only mean one thing: it is time for flag football. Intramural sports are incredibly popular on campus, with nearly 80% of the student body participating, and IM flag football is the most revered of all.

I first joined a team my sophomore year. I didn’t know anything about football, but I was encouraged to play by some friends and I figured I should give it a shot. I expected it to be laid back, so the intense schedule caught me totally off guard. We practiced three times a week, with optional weight training the other two weekdays. I was intimidated, but it only took two practices to absorb my teammates’ competitive fi re and sense of pride. They were serious about winning, but they didn’t take themselves too seriously. We wanted those blue intramural champion shirts, but we just couldn’t help having fun along the way. Heading out to Ankeny for a Saturday morning game was the best. It was just so exciting to line up against my peers, to cheer for our defensive line, to hear the screams of our fans when we executed a good play.

I was abroad last fall, studying ecology in Ecuador, so I missed flag football season. And miss it, I sorely did. I could still keep up with the team via email, as I was on their email thread despite my remote location, but I wanted to be celebrating their amazing season with them.

Which helps to explain why I was so eager to start practicing last week. We have added some new freshmen girls to our ranks, and we aren’t focusing on contending for the blue shirts. This year, it’s all about our love for the sport, and our team. Flag football has given me more than a vocabulary with which I can better communicate with my football-fanatic uncles. It has given me a chance to participate in team sports again, an experience that was fast becoming a relic of my childhood. There is something entirely unique about being a part of a team. For a few months, you come together to work towards a shared dream. You bond unconsciously, developing some sort of inexplicable shared understanding. And, when you do these things really well, you kill it on the field.