By Marissa Goodwin, Contributing Writer
The FRC by Sam Shirley
As the spring semester is starting to gear up, students gather to safely play intramural sports with their friends to be active and take a break from the stress of classes.
Intramurals, which are tournaments of games organized by the students that are held at the Fitness and Recreation Center (FRC) on campus, are a great way to safely bring your friends together in a friendly competition. Jade Petrie, a junior, has participated in intramural basketball, pickleball, and kickball since her sophomore year. “It’s a fun way to get active while being with your friends,” said Petrie.
UMF has offered a variety of intramural sports such as basketball, volleyball, kickball, soccer, and pickleball. This year, the options are limited due to safety processions put in place for COVID-19. Petrie’s favorite part about intramurals is that she gets to be social and active simultaneously. “It’s a cool way to meet new people,” said Petrie.
Although intramurals are a little different because of COVID-19, students are still safely participating. “Students can stay involved while being active and social at the same time,” said Petrie.
Jared Smelter, a senior who has participated in intramurals since he was a junior, enjoys intramurals because he gets to have fun while playing sports with his friends. He agrees that intramurals have been different due to COVID-19 but says that he is happy UMF is still offering them. “We have less options for sports because we can’t have contact,” said Smelter, “but it is better than nothing and I am glad it is still being offered.”
The advantage of playing intramural sports is that it’s a low-stakes way to keep busy and take a break from academics. “It’s offering sports without actually playing a school sport at UMF,” said Jonah Sautter, a junior who has been playing intramurals for three years and is a referee at UMF intramurals.
Intramurals are great for those who don’t want to make the commitment to varsity sports, but miss the supportive, competitive environment of sports. “It is perfect for high school athletes who maybe miss playing sports or just competitive people,” said Sautter.
With all of the changes that are happening during the time of COVID-19, students are using intramurals as a way to get out and do something. “I think intramurals are helping students,” said Sautter. “It gives a sense of normalcy that is nice.”
To find more information about UMF intramurals, visit the UMF Intramurals Instagram page @umfimsports and directly message the account. Students are asked to fill out an application to sign up and pay a $20 deposit to hold their spot to ensure that they will show up to the games.
Krystin Paine Contributing Writer
Intramural sports let students and many faculty members of UMF get exercise and have fun in an inclusive way. Intramurals consist of co-ed teams playing games like basketball, volleyball, kickball, flag football, indoor soccer and many others, including some water sports.
Jake Harris, senior and psychology major, has been doing these sports since his sophomore year. “I think there is definitely a need for intramural sports. My teams have always had a really enjoyable environment and being able to kick back and play mediocre volleyball is so fun for me,” he said. “We don’t win often, but that is the beauty of our team. We play to have fun rather than to win, so being able to keep a fun environment when losing is something not a lot of teams can do.”
Harris had only one minor drawback. “I don’t agree with allowing college level athletes to play intramurals. . .I wish there was a separate tier system for intramurals because it feels as if someone who doesn’t play basketball regularly won’t have a chance against the college athletes.”
Garrett Pooler, sophomore and rehabilitation major, is new to intramural sports, having only started playing this year. “I just got asked to play and thought why not do it. I knew nothing about the sport I was getting into but figured it would be a lot of fun,” he said. “I was definitely right as I’ve had a great time and have made a lot of new friends that I value deeply.”
Pooler felt his involvement with intramurals has had a positive impact on him. “I think intramural sports is one of the best things this campus offers. I know for myself I didn’t do them my freshman year and I wish I had. It gives me a reason to go out to see people I may not normally see or interact with. It also promotes exercise in a fun way than just running.”
David Blattstein, junior and community health major, agreed with both Pooler and Harris. “I find it is a positive reinforcer for meeting new people, getting physical exercise, and possibly sparking new interests.”
Blattstein transferred to UMF his sophomore year and felt welcomed by joining these teams. “This immediate new homebody of a friend group let me tag along with them into all their activities and daily events, which would lead me to join intramurals. It has given me something to look forward too,” he said.
“Especially on a very stressful day, knowing I’ll be with most of my friends makes the day much more bearable.” Blattstein believes that intramurals give the people of UMF a chance to challenge themselves and push out of a comfort zone they might not always get pushed out of. “Even if you’re not interested in sports, or have no desire to, I think everyone should try it at least once throughout their college experience.”
Intramural volleyball and soccer have two of the sports to take place in the Fitness and Recreation Center this past month. To sign up for an Intramural sport contact Leah Brackett at firstname.lastname@example.org or go on their facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/ umfimsports/.
Avery Ryan, Contributing Writer
Each season of an Intramural sport— including kickball, flag football, soccer, pickleball, and more— lasts three to four weeks, during which both student and staff teams compete against each other for t-shirts; a reward that has become cherished and intensely desired over the years.
Spring Volleyball, the final intramural season of the semester, recently concluded with intense and exciting levels of play.
Justin Davis, junior, has participated in every intramural season this year. “[Intramurals] have been a lot of fun to take part in. I love the competition, and the fact that after the game— no matter what happens— you’re still friends with the people you compete against.”
Intramural Program Director, Jake Heimlich, participates in each season in addition to his responsibilities in scheduling and officiating. “I do intramurals to have fun with my friends, and to play sports that I normally wouldn’t do, like pickleball,” Heimlich said.
Heimlich also emphasizes sportsmanship improvements within the program. “I would say that sportsmanship has come a long way. It has improved drastically. Sportsmanship has changed as teams get more friendly than competitive. With the exception of a few sports, people are able to keep it lighthearted and fun.”
Leah Brackett, Assistant Director of the Fitness and Recreation Center, agreed on the topic of sportsmanship. “[It’s] been fantastic this year. Our expectations are more clear, and teams know that. The environment has improved.”
The Fitness and Recreation Center is the largest student employment facility on campus with more than 100 student employees across all departments. Brackett noted improvements in student employee officiating this year. “We have high expectations for our officials. They’re all students, and we don’t have the resources for crazy amounts of training, so it takes a certain flexibility and willingness to stand out among your peers.” Brackett continued, “We’re always looking for people to participate as referees. Lots of [our referees] are graduating and there will be many job opportunities.”
The average intramural season this year has had 10 registered teams, including the occasional staff team. The most popular season was basketball. Brackett has allowed for “free agents” to register and be taken in by teams in the case they could not put together a full team on their own. “The numbers this year were pretty average,” Brackett said. “We’ve had years with very few registered teams and years with crazy numbers.”
“We hope to grow our numbers and to continue to focus on people enjoying themselves. Everyone wants to win a shirt, we get that, and we want to make sure that we stay competitive without people getting down on their teammates or the refs,” Heimlich said.
“I would encourage anyone and everyone, new and old, to come out and play. It’s a ton of fun, and a great way to meet new people,” Davis said.
By Jared Smelter Contributing Writer
Big Red’s Army wearing their Championship t-shirts. (L to R, back to front): Leah Waggoner, Kyler Chabe, John Hamilton, Hunter Wiley, Maegan Hewey, Abby Shields, captian Caleb Grover and J.P. Tshamala
(Photo courtesy of UMF Intramurals Facebook)
Big Red’s Army, one of the ten intramural volleyball teams in this year’s intramural volleyball league at UMF, defeated Rolling Thunder in the championship game last week.
“I think as a team we just had really good chemistry and we all understood our roles,” said Caleb Grover, captain of Big Red’s Army.
The team went undefeated in the regular season, taking down all the opponents they faced. In week one, they won against Rolling Thunder, who they eventually played in the championship, captained by Matthew Dotson. In the last game of the regular season, they defeated Slobbest Knobbest for the second time.
But doing well in the regular season was not Big Red’s Army’s goal. They wanted to win it all. After falling short last year, team member Hunter Wiley wanted redemption. So Grover took the essential pieces of his team, including UMF juniors Wiley and Kyle Chabe and tried to assemble a squad that could conquer the league.
J.P. Tshamala, one of the free agents entering the volleyball season, received an offer from Grover and his comrades to join the team. “I am friends with the people on the team and they asked me to join so I accepted their offer,” Tshamala said.
Entering the regular season, Big Red’s Army had one goal in mind: getting to the championship and winning. They took the league by storm and qualified for the playoffs.
“The only two teams that presented us with any adversity were Rolling Thunder and Spiked Seltzer,” Grover said. “[They were] definitely the hardest team we faced, they had a lot of athleticism and height.”
Other than those obstacles, Big Red’s Army made it to the playoffs pretty easily, according to Grover. The team was very successful because of their best player, Chabe, according to multiple team members including Maeghan Hewey, Hunter Wiley, and Captain Grover.
“Kyle Chabe was our best player so we played around him,” Grover said. “We consistently were successful with the bump, set, spike giving us a strategic advantage over the other teams.”
In the first round, they defeated Honey Roasted Hens to move on to the semifinals, where they took down The Potato Spikers.
They advanced into the finals to play Rolling Thunder, who was one of their toughest opponents during the regular season. When the team scored match point, there was nothing but jubilation on the court.
“It was great winning, the team that I was on was amazing; everyone was really good, and made me feel welcome,” Tshamala said.
Grover’s team will be looking to defend their intramural volleyball title next fall when new teams and old ones will be looking to dethrone them.
If you are looking to join an intramural sports team, contact email@example.com, or message the UMF Intramural Sports facebook page.