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Jermaine Brown (A17) and Jakub Piven (A17) are captains of the Greenwaves, one of the five intramural teams at St. John’s College. This interview was edited for length and clarity.

Jermaine Brown (left) and Jakub Piven (right)

St. John’s College: What is the intramural program at St. John’s College?

Jermaine Brown: The intramural program is equivalent to how Socrates described the guardians’ education in [Plato’s] Republic. The educational goal of the guardians is to promote personal virtue, educational achievement, and polity harmony. [In addition], what we pride ourselves on is that we always say, “No skill required, just pure spirit.”

Jakub Piven: It’s a space for us to get away from the books, a safe place to learn to do physical activity, and for those who are already experienced to bring others into that world.

SJC: What has been your favorite part of being an intramural captain?

JP: Seeing people having fun on the field and seeing people that you would never expect show up, and show up consistently. People feel like they can come out no matter what and have a good time.

JB: My favorite part has been the interaction with the students from freshmen to alumni. It’s just a joy being able to interact with both sexes, all skill levels, and seeing how we meld together as a team unified under one accord, which is, for the Greenwaves, always to have fun.

SJC: What makes a Greenwave?

JP: My captains were Sebastian Abella (A15) and Ekemezie Uche (A15), who were both gentle-mannered. They were very controlled, but they cared about the game and playing it right, and being organized and having a strategy. Fair play was always important. We’re not as boisterous and loud as some other teams, but I think we focus on fair play and getting everyone on the field.

JB: We have this joy to have fun and just enjoy our time together. We always execute our performance well, and I feel like that’s the foundation of [being] a Greenwave.

SJC: How does the classroom impact intramurals, and vice versa?

JB: St. John’s College is conversationally based so you’re interacting at any given time with 12 or 13 different personalities, but what’s so important is the idea is that there’s shared leadership. No one is dominating; you also don’t want to be too quiet. Everyone is a leader and equally in charge of ensuring that the leadership is shared. The intramural program strives for and incorporates the balance required [in the classroom].

JP: I think the classroom informs intramurals first, in terms of the kind of respect that we have in the classroom towards each other, sensitivity towards others’ emotions and skills. We’re all coming from different backgrounds so we have respect that and encourage others to develop new skills and new interests. From intramurals to the classroom, you form friendships that you wouldn’t have formed academically but that begin in intramurals and then carry over to academics.

SJC: What is your favorite intramural sport?

JB: Soccer.

JP: Soccer, because it has this complexity: you have to learn to pass backwards, for example, which always carries over into the classroom. You have to learn to go backwards to go forward; you have to learn to work as a team. It’s the most beautiful sport.

The Greenwaves won the 2016 Intramural Basketball Championship. View a photo of the championship team.

—Brady Lee (AGI14)