|About a dozen young men gathered in the Maxcy Hall Lounge late in the fall 2006 semester, diving headlong into a fresh pizza, soda and potato chips. While the food was an incentive, these men came together to talk about their favorite aspect of college: SUNY Potsdam’s intramural program.
Now just for the record, these men aren’t just casual intramural participants who fill their spare college hours playing soccer and broomball. These guys take their intramurals seriously and have become a legend in their own right. These men are the Double Deuces.
In 2001, a group of students living in Lehman Hall — most of whom had played football in high school— decided to form an intramural team to help pass some time and get back out on the playing field.
“At the time, some of us were living in Room 322 and others of us were living in Room 422,” said Chris Scholtz of Manotic, NY, a founding member of the team. “That’s where we got the name Double Deuces.”
Even though several original members have since graduated, new members are continually being added in hopes of carrying on the Double Deuces legacy.
"Here, you really find out who your friends are."
-William Beauchamp, Director of Intramurals
William Beauchamp, director of intramurals and recreation, sprung for the pizza that day last fall and gave his philosophy regarding the College’s intramural programs.
“When these guys were in high school, right after classes around 3 or 4 o’clock, they played some kind of sport,” he said. “Then all of a sudden you’re in college. There isn’t a varsity football team here, and you’ve got nothing to do at 4 o’clock in the afternoon. That’s where the intramural program comes in and why this program is so important to the overall college experience.”
Beauchamp took over the intramural program from Michael Lebeda, who retired in 2000 after 33 years at the College. Lebeda, who refers to intramurals as “structured recreation,” said the nature of recreation has been changing.
“The trend in the ’70s and ’80s was that everything was intramural teams,” Lebeda said. Today between 60 and 70 percent of all students take advantage of some aspect of the intramural programs on campus either in organized leagues or open recreation and special events. Regardless of the activity, Lebeda and Beauchamp agree that Maxcy Hall provides students with a one-stop facility for all sorts of action and a place to make their fitness a priority. Recently, the fitness center has been upgraded with the newest exercise equipment on the market and a climbing wall in the field house that’s 36 feet tall which has been a huge hit for students and members of the community.
“People want to come to a place where all the activities are in one facility,” Lebeda said. “What the intramural program does is help organize teams and structured activities and recreation for students.” Beauchamp has made it easier than ever. Students can go online and sign up for an intramural sport and pick their own team.
Potsdam currently offers several intramural sports, including basketball, dodgeball, golf, soccer, volleyball, broomball, floor hockey, racquetball and touch football for all levels of athlete male and female. The Double Deuces have played just about every one, and they have several championship jerseys to prove it.
Beauchamp helps bring a true sense of professionalism to the entire intramural program. The games are officiated, which the guys say makes the sports seem “real.” There are playoff games and a championship competition. The winners earn championship jerseys, which are highly prized on campus.
“The championship T-shirts are like our trophies,” said sophomore Mike Randazzo of Newburgh, NY whose brother, Joe, was one of the Double Deuces founding members. “We’ve got our own trophy case of championship T-shirts.”
Intramural teams come and go, but the Double Deuces legacy has an element of permanence to it. New members are being recruited annually, and the veterans continue to correspond with their former teammates. Some of the veterans have even made it back to Potsdam to watch playoff and championship games.
“You really build lifelong friendships with this group,” said senior Dustin Krause of Morrisville, NY “It’s also helped us meet a lot of people and make a lot of friends on campus. Everywhere we go on campus, people know who we are.”
Senior Ted Gordon of Lowville, NY equates the Deuces to a fraternity.
“It’s like being in a frat … in fact, we’re closer than a frat,” he said. “I’m actually in a fraternity, and it doesn’t even compare to this group. We genuinely enjoy hanging out with each other. We’re here because we want to be here.”
The members have always been there to help each other out. They offer tutoring assistance to one another and often pass down class notes. Scholtz said he had a difficult time transitioning from his native Long Island to the North Country. In fact he admits he had serious doubts about returning to Potsdam his sophomore year. What did make him come back were the Double Deuces.
“I probably wouldn’t be here right now,” he said, “if it hadn’t been for the Double Deuces.”
Beauchamp says the intramural program is what makes SUNY Potsdam not just a place to learn but also a place to make lifelong connections.
“There’s a healthy competition and rivalry within the program,” he said. “The teams also get a chance to know one another. … Here, you really find out who your friends are.”