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    Believe it or not, I actually do not get paid much working as a sports editor for the Guardian.

    When it comes down to it, I get paid less than minimum wage. I work a lot of hours for a little bit of money.

    Because of my less-than-stellar wages, I have a second job to boost my cash flow. This second job consists of sitting at the weight room desk inside of RIMAC and checking students’ purple stickers. This job isn’t very glamorous or interesting and doesn’t require too many brain cells, but it pays more than what I get busting my ass for the Guardian.

    To pass the time, sometimes I’ll just look around and observe people. Of course, first I’ll check out all the cute girls on the treadmills, but after I get bored of being ignored by them, my gaze will invariably be drawn to the Pit, which is the area right below the treadmills where the sports teams have their team workouts.

    Watching the teams work out together, horse around together, and just be a team together makes me realize how much I miss being on a team. The cohesiveness, the camaraderie, the sense of belonging and security, and the acceptance and understanding on a team is like none other.

    The last organized team I was on was my high school baseball team, and I don’t think I’ll ever forget that team. A majority of us were on the varsity team for our second or third years, and I had been playing with many of them since Little League. We became even closer during conditioning, as everyone shared in the misery of twice-a-day practices, the first one starting at 6 a.m.

    But perhaps what most brought our team together was the time-honored tradition of Kangaroo Court. For those of you who don’t know what this is, I’ll do my best to explain.

    Once a week, our team would have team dinners, either at someone’s house or at the pizza place where one of our assistant coaches worked. We would eat our fill, and then begin court, in which our coaches were the judges. And then the accusations would begin.

    Players would bring up violations their teammates committed in the past week to the court. For example, if somebody made a baserunning mistake in the last game, he would be fined for it. If someone threw his bat or helmet after striking out, he would be fined for it — this was one fine that was often brought against me.

    However, a player could also get props as well, for making a great diving catch, or for a clutch base hit, something of that nature. And if somebody nominated a teammate for props and the coaches agreed, then that person’s fine would be reduced.

    What about those people who didn’t get fined? No problem, anyone who wasn’t fined got fined for not getting fined.

    The fines weren’t large at all, with one or two bucks being the biggest fine someone could get per violation.

    However, the great part of Kangaroo Court was that it wasn’t limited to the field.

    Players could fine their friends for being late to class, for public display of affection with their girlfriends, for hooking up with a girl two years younger than them at a party and so on. Anything the coaches deemed an infraction was a fine for the player. This was always the best part, as friends would bring up embarrassing stories about their teammates and then the person would try to get even.

    The best thing was that you could fine the coaches as well. For example, our coach would be fined for getting tossed from a game — or if he said something particularly interesting about the umpires he might end up getting props for it. In that case, one of the other coaches would be the judge.

    At the end of the night, the person with the most fines would collect the tally sheet that had everybody’s fines on it and would be responsible for it for the next week and for collecting all the fines from the players. The money was set aside to pay for the team dinner next week, and the way the fines mounted up, there was usually more than enough.

    It is traditions like Kangaroo Court and many, many others that really make me miss being on a team. I urge anyone who is part of a team to establish something like this to bring his team closer together. The good times and friendships that result from a close-knit team will last a lifetime.

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