Sand between the toes, sun on the face, and music playing in the background only begin to describe the atmosphere at last year’s intramural sand volleyball tournament, said UI junior Camille Hanson.
The sand volleyball tournament this year is right after the first week of classes, said Butch Fealy, Associate Director of Competitive and Recreational Sports. For Hanson, this was a great way to connect with friends and meet new people.
“One of my friends was interested in it, they asked me and I went along with it and had fun, even though I suck at volleyball,” Hanson said.
Fealy said not only are intramurals an opportunity to get involved and have a good time while taking a break from classes, but it also provides a fun environment, he said.
“It’s a great way to meet the students on campus,” Fealy said. “We try to build a community that enjoys participating both recreationally and competitively.”
Hanson said she found a really nice middle ground between going out and playing with friends and actually participating in an organized sport.
“There were some people that were super competitive, obviously. It was just a great way to exercise and have fun with friends,” Hanson said.
Fealy said not only are intramurals open to every skill and ability level, but they also encompass almost every sport and activity. He said that some of the more unique events throughout the year are corn hole tournaments and a trivia bowl.
“We offer a kickball and a dodge ball if you want to get in touch with your third-grade recess past. We also do a few activities that are leisure oriented. If you’re not into the sports and the super athletic things, in the winter we offer things like cribbage and shuffleboard,” Fealy said.
Fealy said for those students who maybe don’t have enough friends yet to pull together a team, they can be put on a free-agent list. He said this is actually one of the best ways to meet people through intramural sports.
“The free agent list has made some lifelong friends in the past,” Fealy said.
Hanson said she wishes she participated in sand volleyball during her freshman year at UI. She stressed that it’s a great way to meet people outside of your major and living group.
“As a freshman you’re just trying to get a grip on things. Through intramurals you can meet people where you’re not only with other freshmen,” Hanson said. “It’s a great way to meet friends in a different stage of college life.”
The time commitments to play intramurals differ based on the sport chosen. Fealy said that some sports, like sand volleyball, are just a one-day or weekend-long tournament. Others, like ultimate Frisbee, span the course of roughly 5 weeks with a couple games each week.
Hanson said she suggests going to support friends who are playing, even if you can’t commit to participate in a sport. She said she regularly went to support her friend’s ultimate Frisbee team at their games and it was a ton of fun.
“I feel like they don’t get very much attention lots of times. It’s just a cool way to support your friends. It’s not like with real sports where everybody comes. I just went and watched because I thought it would be fun to cheer them on and their team,” Hanson said.
Fealy and Hanson both said no matter how you participate, the atmosphere is fun and laid back and a good way to take a break from the stress of classes.
Carly Scott can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org