An Inside Look at Loyola’s March Madness

Cooper Tamisiea, Writer

Free at last! Loyola Academy students were able to play in their “favorite” intramural activity during the month of March. The annual Loyola March Madness basketball tournament returned this year, which led to the delight of many Ramblers.

Due to COVID-19, the tournament, was abruptly canceled a week before it was scheduled to happen last year. Additionally, Ramblers all year have not been able to participate in the usual number of intramural activities. However, because of significant work done by Coach Ackels, students wereable to play the beloved tournament safe while having fun.

The tournament, which followed a 3 vs 3 format, included 25 senior teams. Masks were required and social distancing was enforced in the stands. Rules were strict but senior students were happy to participate. Ackels, the head of Loyola intramural activities, had to ensure the administration that the tournament would be played under CDC approved guidelines.

Conor Clyde, a player for the Extra Large Dragons, was thankful to be playing in the
tournament. Clyde stated, “the last year has been tough on all of us, but being able to play in my favorite intramural was a positive.”

Clyde also described the atmosphere of the gym as “electric and something I have missed dearly.” Clyde, along with many seniors, was thrilled to finally participate in one of the year’s best events.

Edward Mahoney, a player for Louck’s Library, described the event as “amazing.”

Mahoney referenced how hard the last year had been on him and everyone else, calling 2020 a “forgettable year in every aspect.” The opportunity to play in the tournament led to an “escape from reality” for Mahoney and gave him the feeling that things might be getting back to normal.

Mahoney also stressed how safe he felt during the tournament. “Everyone wore masks and tried to socially distance when possible. Coach Ackels did a great job of ensuring everyone remained safe while having fun. I am really happy to have played in this tournament with my senior classmates. With only two months of school left, I cherished the thrill and energy of playing intramural basketball.” Mahoney, like his fellow classmates, was happy to hit the hardwood floor.

Max Marino, a spectator of the tournament, spoke about how watching an event in person is something he had missed. “The energy of a crowd is simply unmatched. Whether it be football, soccer, or basketball, nothing can replace a crowd. Although we were socially distanced and wearing masks, I felt a sense of community and togetherness which I haven’t felt in awhile. It was a feeling of normalcy that we all need. The tournament provided hope for the future, hope that we will be together for events such as Prom and Graduation. Hope that this cruel pandemic will end.”

Marino looked back on the tournament with a smile and with newfound hope that
better days are ahead.

COVID-19 forced Loyola to shut down and move remote learning in March of 2020. In March of 2021, half of the Ramblers were united and together over the game of basketball. A game so simple, yet significant and complex for these Ramblers.