The start of the school year signals a few consistent things: all-nighter study sessions after procrastinating too long, the Center for Advising and Academic Success (CAAS), and emails encouraging students to sign up for intramurals. I am what people could call “uncoordinated” or “unathletic,” so when I first got to Whittier College and my friends wanted to form an intramural sports team, I was terrified.
Sports and I have always had a complicated relationship … and by complicated, I mean we have never gotten along. I tried sports as a kid, but I could never keep up. For my entire first year at Whittier, my friends signed up for every intramural offered, and I agreed to be their “coach” or “cheerleader,” giving dramatically exaggerated pep talks, cheering them on from the bleachers, and running to give them Gatorade or inhalers as needed.
It wasn’t until my second year (last year), that I agreed to actually give them a try when a different friend of mine was short a female player for his team. Much to my surprise, I had a lot of fun. I still was not good at the sports. I was probably the weakest link on his team, but I did not feel bad. Intramural sports became a really nice way to relieve stress and just have fun for 30 minutes a couple times a week.
Third-year and Captain of the men’s swim team Will Arnsparger talked about his experiences with intramural sports. “At Whittier, I started doing [intramural sports] because I was the intramurals chair for the Franklin Society, so I was spearheading organizing our teams and just doing it with a big group of people I know,” he said. Even though he’s part of a college sports team, Will says, “There’s always lots of options for intramurals, so it’s perfect for people trying out sports without having an athletic background.”
Intramurals have been an important part of campus life for a long time. Mark Jensen has been the Director of Intramurals and Recreation for around seven years, and he likes intramural sports because “[they] provide our students with something else to do on campus. It gives an outlet to get away from class and breathe a little bit. Whether they’re athletes or not, it gives them a chance to have some fun without getting in trouble.” He also likes them because they “provide a perfect platform for students to make friends … intramurals are perfect for place for that to occur.”
Whether you are a star athlete or have not played a sport in years, intramural sports are a great way to take a break and have fun!