Intramurals act as recreational alternative

Madison Bates, sophomore at Western Kentucky University, participates in fencing practice on March 2. Madison joined the team last fall, with no prior experience. She’d had an interest in fencing since middle school, and when the opportunity to join the team raised, she took it. “I just really enjoy fencing. It’s just a cool thing to do,” explained Madison. The team practices on Tuesdays and Thursdays at Preston Center on WKU’s campus, but because membership is low they don’t get to compete often.

Sarah Yaacoub

There’s no denying that college is a high-stress environment; deadlines and exams abound, and even things one would normally find relaxing—sports, for instance—can become overly competitive and feel more like hard work than fun afterschool activities.

Intramurals, however, act as a more recreational alternative to the traditional National College Athletics Association teams, which hold tryouts and often have practices several times a week for large blocks of time. Intramural sports tend to be far less time-consuming than NCAA ones, allowing each team to set its own practice schedule, which is especially beneficial to students whose schedules are already packed with clubs, classes and community service. Additionally, seasons are only a few weeks long, so registering to play on a team isn not a large commitment.

Gatton Academy senior Mary Reilly has played on futsal and soccer intramural teams and is currently in the process of organizing a volleyball team. She sees value in the opportunities for social interaction provided by intramurals, in addition to the physical exertion students may lack from day-to-day activities at school.

“They allow students to have a physical outlet, and they encourage students to socialize with their peers,” she said. “It’s a lot of fun in general.”

That’s the purpose of the intramural teams—to have a good time while developing skills in whatever sport you choose. Prior experience isn’t necessary, and all students are eligible as long as they have not played the sport professionally.

One of the best things, Reilly said, is that intramurals are inclusive of everyone.

This even extends beyond students – faculty and staff members are also welcome to form and play on teams. The only requirement for starting a team is recruiting enough interested and eligible players by the start of the season.

WKU has teams for mini golf, futsal, soccer, tennis, inner tube waterbasketball (yes, that’s exactly what it sounds like—students sit on inner tubes in the water and play basketball), dodgeball, foot golf, flag football, fencing, volleyball, the Turkey Trot 5K and basketball. Sign-ups for many of the sports are open now, and students can register for a team by visiting imleagues.com and searching for WKU. Spots are still available on many of the fall sports teams.

Reporter Sarah Yaacoub can be reached at (270) 745-2655 and [email protected]