Intramurals for the High School Athlete

by
Graduate Student, Merrimack College

Jul   2013

Thu

11

Throughout my high school years, I loved playing on the basketball and tennis teams. I eagerly looked forward to the daily practices and games that my life revolved around. As graduation approached, I began to think my days of playing team sports were coming to an end. I did not plan on playing for a college team, and therefore believed I would never have another opportunity to feel the same sense of camaraderie and competition that high school sports gave me.

My first semester of college finally arrived, and I began the search for my niche within the busy campus. As I got to know more of my classmates, I realized there were a lot of other high school athletes who felt the same as me! By asking around, I found a group of students who joined me in signing up for a variety of intramural sports. There are many college students who consider themselves athletes yet do not choose to join an official team. Intramural sports are a great way for these students to come together and join in the spirit of competition. Here are a few reasons why joining an intramural sports team can be a great choice for you . . .

First, intramural sports are a great way to meet new people. If you are new to campus or just looking for something new to do, playing on an intramural team can help you find other students with a common interest in athletics. The companionship of sports teams can truly bring athletes together, and lead to making great new friends. During my freshman year of college I met a friend who also loved basketball and had played on her high school team. She invited me to join the intramural team that she had already organized. I excitedly accepted! She introduced me to the rest of the players, and I gained a brand new circle of close friends.

Another benefit of playing intramural sports is their contribution to maintaining a healthy and active lifestyle. During the busy college schedule, it can be difficult to squeeze in an exercise routine. Playing in organized games can help you stay active, while having fun. In my personal experience, I felt that getting exercise regularly during college helped me de-stress from classes and homework. If being active does the same for you, intramural sports can help you stay feeling healthy and relaxed.

The organization of intramural athletics compliments the busy college lifestyle. All of the teams are composed of students at the college. Generally, games are one night a week at a set time that is decided by the team, and each season lasts about two to three months. Usually there is one captain who signs the team up and is responsible for making sure everyone knows when the games are. You can have as many people on the team as you want. It can actually be helpful to have extra players in case some can’t make it to all of the games. There are no required practices or set practice times, the team can decide what they want to do. There is no coach, so teammates have to cooperate on things such as strategy or subbing, which builds teamwork and leadership tendencies. Usually there is some type of playoff at the end of the season, and the champions win a prize such as a t-shirt. The organization of intramural sports is relaxed and has a low level of commitment, which works well with the typically busy schedule that college students have.

Lastly, college is the perfect opportunity to try out something new, and intramural sports can be a great way to do just that. The atmosphere is all about having a good time, so you can feel comfortable trying something unfamiliar. I was asked to join an intramural volleyball team, but hesitated since I had little to no experience playing. I decided to put my nerves aside and join anyway. I did not become the best player on the team, but I did have a blast playing and met some great new friends. Everyone was supportive of each other, regardless of their skill level, because everyone was just  looking to have fun. I highly recommend putting yourself out there and trying something new. You never know, you might find a new activity you love!

While many athletes, like myself, fear their days of playing competitive sports ends with high school, there is no need to worry. Intramural sports in college offer high school athletes a great opportunity to continue playing. With a lower level of commitment they complement busy college schedules, while still providing a sense of competition and team camaraderie. You might feel sad to say goodbye to your high school teams, but be prepared for the great new memories intramural sports will bring you!

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