Athetic opportunities aplenty in intramurals

by Jake Kapsner

Not only athletes aspiring to stardom and professional contracts come to play sports at a famed Big Ten institution.
Each academic quarter, thousands of University students don spikes and sneakers to play everything from broomball to sand volleyball in the University Intramurals program.
The Recreational Sports department offers six sports this fall: 3-on- 3 basketball, bowling, flag football, raquetball, soccer and volleyball.
“I think it’s a lot of fun, a good way to meet people and it keeps me involved in sports,” said Jodi McDonah, a CLA senior who’s played and officiated for the past three years.
To participate, students form a team and enter in the co-ed, men’s or women’s category. Students can also sign-up individually and be pooled with others.
However, officials say having a ready-made team guarantees placement in one of the varying categories, and the odds of landing the desired difficulty level are better the sooner a team enters.
Students can register this fall on Sept. 29, 30, and Oct. 1 in front of the Fitness Center. Informational booths will be set-up in the Aquatic Center lobby as part of Rec Sports Day on Sept. 29. Also on tap is a freshman flag football tournament Oct. 3.
Fewer freshman typically turnout for intramurals in the fall than in the winter, a trend officials said they’d like to change.
“They’re bombarded by all the programs in fall, then they settle in, learn about intramurals and join,” said Tom O’Conner, a CLA Junior who is also a marketing and special events coordinator.
“And most people don’t realize how cheap it is to participate. It averages out to about a dollar a game,” said Jason Lamon, a CLA senior who supervises intramural programs.
He also stressed that employment opportunities exist, from officiating to keeping clock.
The supervisors award top officials in each sport with gear from one of the numerous corporate sponsors of University intramurals. Corporations like Nestle, Evian, Nike and Altoids send free products and equipment. Cosmopolitan magazine sponsors a women’s volleyball tournament in the fall.
“The great thing about the University’s intramurals,” Lamon said, “all championship games are played in the best possible facility: winter basketball in Williams arena, all hockey in Mariucci, and flag football championships in Bronco Nagurski.”
Perhaps the typical student has more in common with Big Ten athletes than they thought.