When I entered Whitman my freshman year, I heard about the exciting opportunity for club and intramural sports. It seemed like a sleek solution for those who wanted to play sports in a casual yet semi-competitive setting with their friends, so I immediately navigated to the website. However, when I typed https://www.imleagues.com/spa/team/zzz672706174558142464/home into the search bar, nothing could have prepared me for the sheer horror that lay beyond the IMLeagues URL. On the portal alone, a seizure-inducing frenzy of squares and rectangles appear on your screen as you fight tooth and nail to type your password in. Just as you think you’re in the clear and the page is loaded, a massive ad block disabler appears, forbidding you to continue to the website until you have willingly discarded your only protection. In the single beat after you have chosen the ad block option “Pause on this site” and clicked “Continue,” you have truly sealed your fate. The crucial seconds right before the page reloads signal the loss of innocence, and you have no choice but to watch as a tirade of ads crash upon your browser like a mighty wave.
As you desperately try to find the single sentence that will disclose the details of your table tennis game, lurid pop ups assault your vision. The black, void-like screen of an unloaded video keeps your company in the lower left corner of the page, arbitrarily changing in size and perhaps never even loading at all. As you desperately search for the elusive intramurals game page, a promotion for a senior living community, weight loss before and after pictures and a random, bold-worded ad – I’m not even sure what it means – hauntingly reads, “No Ads? No Internet.” At this point on your hellish journey through the blue and white interface, even a swift death would be easier than facing those wretched third-party ads.
Perhaps most insultingly, written all around the page is the titillating little phrase: “Hate Ads? Click Here! $4 to Remove Ads!” What, I wonder, lies beyond that poorly worded clickbait-like lure? I’ll never know, but am frankly terrified to click anywhere aside from the “Whitman College” and “Intramurals” buttons, especially on such a presumptuous link. Just the thought of paying $48 annually to IMLeagues is a rich notion. Already footing the intramural fee of $21 through a website that is less secure than LimeWire is a risky gesture, and to admit defeat that easily would feel like giving in to the tyranny of IMLeagues.
God save anyone who would give IMLeagues any more money than they absolutely have to, and God save anyone who attempts to visit this heinous website on their phone.