We are in the fourth week of school, which means intramurals are in full swing. There are four seasons of sports throughout the school year, and with that comes something for every interested party. Because there are separate brackets for less competitive and more competitive teams (with options for both to play on either Monday/Wednesday or Tuesday/Thursday), intramurals find space for varying skill sets and schedule conflicts. They make room for washed-up high school athletes and beginners alike to come together in healthy competition and in a good low-stakes environment. So, if you have never played anything in your life or used to ball up in every sport available, there is a spot for you: from doubles badminton to basketball to innertube water polo and everything in between.
Sports this season (fall season one) include women’s three-player volleyball, co-ed flag football, men’s flag football and men’s soccer. Usually games are later at night, between eight and midnight, and last about an hour. Up until tournament time, they are only two nights a week, so there is a lot of fun for very little time commitment, which is one of the reasons sophomore Julia Lalain, a less competitive three-player women’s volleyball player, loves intramurals so much. She says that intramurals are, “For fun, to meet new people and to take a break from studying.” For her, it’s just enjoyable to be on a team without the huge time commitment of a collegiate sports team. In the future, she hopes to be involved in almost every season, including co-ed basketball in the fall season two and co-ed soccer in the spring season. Because there are generally no practices (unless, of course, your team chooses to do so), it really just is two hours per week. Intramurals are just another way to fully engage with Hope college and to embrace campus life. They are an outlet to relax while staying social and active.
For sophomore Sarah Pelyhes, intramurals offer a way to keep in touch with her former high-school-athlete self. She says about playing coed flag football this year, “Honestly, I am just excited to have fun with my friends and be able to relive my powderpuff days. I had so much fun playing flag football in high school, how could I pass up the opportunity?” She says too about balancing the competition with the relaxed nature: “There’s no pressure to be outstanding, but it still feels like a million bucks to score a touchdown” adding, “which I may or may not have done.”
If playing sports and having fun with friends isn’t enough for you, if your competitive drive pushes you further, fear not. At the end of the season, each sport has an elimination tournament where all the teams from Monday/Wednesday and Tuesday/Thursday come together in their respective competitive (less and more) class. For the winners, there is more than just bragging rights. Each member of the winning team gets the coveted intramural champion t-shirt. So even if you are not on a team now, there is still time in future seasons. Who knows? It may be you rocking an intramural champion t-shirt someday.