Two River Rat basketball players are attacked by a goose in the Mark Train Building Gym late last semester. Frequent goose assaults were only one of many problems which plagued the DUM-St. Louis basketball program.|
photo by Dot Warner
In response to Rech Wrestler's recent resignation, and the River Rat basketball team's lack of success in recent years, DUM-St. Louis has decided to end the program all together. DUM-St. Louis will now sponsor the River Rat chess team.
"We know it seems like a sudden decision but we've been pondering this for a long time," DUM-St. Louis Athletic Detector Pat Roland said.
The chess team will get the funding that the basketball team used to get. They will practice and compete at the Mark Train Gym, just like the basketball team did.
DUM-St. Louis Chancellor Branch Newhill is ecstatic about the decision.
"I'm tired of being disgraced," Newhill said. "Everywhere I went people harassed me about the basketball team's poor record. I've had enough! Now we have a very strong academic institution here. Brains before brawn. We have to deal from our strengths and from here on out our strength is chess."
The poor record Newhill referred to was the combined 19-600 record the River Rats have posted in the past three seasons.
Roland welcomes the change and sees it as a fresh start.
"Well it certainly is no skin off of my back to not worry about hiring a successor for [Wrestler]," Roland said. "Besides, the team would still be bad for a couple of years before the new coach can have an influence. With the chess team, we can be good right away." While no strong coaching candidates have emerged to lead the chess team, several names have been tossed around. They include Alex Trebeck, Dan Qualye, and that guy who ran with Ross Perot in 1992.
Bill Gates, owner of Microsoft, was rumored to have an interest in funding the chess team. However, it turned out that he really wanted to buy the University instead.
The new DUM-St. Louis pep band will still play during the chess meets. During opponent's moves they will play the Jaws theme or any Barry Manilow classic. However, they are prohibited from playing while a River Rat player is making a move.
Tryouts for the chess team will be held next September. The team begins play in November. Both men and women are invited to participate. The only requirement is that you have to know how to spell your name correctly and fill in the corresponding bubbles on a scantron sheet, as well as having exorbitant amounts of free time.
"I would encourage women to go out for the team," Newhill said. "Women can play this game. Haven't you ever read Amy Tan's Joy Luck Club?"
Roland said anyone who is interested in coaching the chess team should apply in the athletic office, but there are a few requirements.
"The chess coach needs to be in touch with all of the NCAA rules about paying players and giving gifts. This new coach needs to be innovative enough to know how to use these rules so we can only get the best chess players. The last thing we need is an NCAA investigation into our chess program."