Kunai: A League of Their Own
“[Soccer] is all very well as a game for rough girls, but is hardly suitable for delicate boys." – Oscar Wilde
Female students at St. John’s might well agree as they run on to the field for their bi-weekly dose of Fall Kunai soccer. Kunai, the name of the women’s intramural program, comes (as many things at St. John’s do) from the Greek: “Κυναι Χθ?νιαι” translates politely as “She-Dogs from the Underworld.” Kunai, open to all female members of the St. John’s College community, meets Tuesday and Friday afternoons. They play outdoor soccer on the lower fields in the fall, head inside for basketball and netball in the winter, and return outdoors for soccer in the spring.
Unlike the men’s intramural program, which assigns all freshmen to one of five teams before holding a campus-wide draft to determine which team they will play on for the rest of their time on the St. John’s field, the women’s intramural program “crafts” new teams each season. The team captains, called archons, seek to have a mix of students, some with experience and some with passion. Each season, red, blue, yellow, and green teams take the field, each one-season team with its own one-season name. Most names contain a nod to Program books or mythology, though they aren’t required to.
Although women are invited to play in the men’s intramural league if they desire, most prefer the comfort and friendly atmosphere of Kunai, where games can be intense, but there are no team rivalries, and everyone is playing just for the sheer enjoyment. “When I first came to St. John’s, I was intimidated by sports,” says Catherine Moon (A14), Kunai archon (aka team captain). “The seniors seemed so experienced. But the athletics program here makes sports accessible, and it’s a great way to form friendships and to get to know students in other class years. Kunai opened up my world.”
- by Hanna Pasternak, class of 2012 and former Kunai player