IM, club sports

Kyle Howe

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After a long day of classes, many students like to find a way to relax and recuperate. At Whitman College one popular way to do this is through sports.

At Whitman, however, you don’t have to be a varsity athlete to have fun and be competitive. Soccer, men’s and women’s rugby, men’s and women’s volleyball, men’s and women’s ultimate Frisbee, alpine skiing, men’s and women’s lacrosse, Nordic skiing, and cycling are just a few of the clubs on campus. All of them are open to individuals of a variety of skill levels and will welcome any newcomers.

For those who aren’t ready to commit to one sport, IM sports teams are organized throughout the year, and include flag football, tennis, soccer, dodgeball, basketball, ultimate Frisbee, softball, volleyball and mini-golf.

“The atmosphere of IM sports is pretty varied depending on what you want out of it. If you have never played a sport before but want to give it a shot with some of your friends, then you can do that in the lower division,” said senior Gus Friedman, a member of the IM committee. “If you are more experienced and want a more competitive IM experience, then you can find that as well in the upper division”.

Regardless of the competitive intensity, IM sports prove to be a lot of fun.

“You meet new people through IMs, you make teams as [first-years] that end up sticking together to senior year, you get a fun way to be active and get some exercise, and you get some great memories. The way I see it, there doesn’t seem to be much of a downside in participating, but there sure is a hell of a lot of upside,” said Friedman.

Some clubs on campus also reflect this laid-back, fun-focused atmosphere; others maintain this attitude but come with an extra level of commitment. Whitman’s Ultimate Frisbee teams are one example.

“Ultimate is a super relaxed sport,” said sophomore player Russell Arkin. “We don’t require any experience at all to come out and play, as we are more than happy to help any beginners get a grasp of it and start figuring out how to throw or play. That being said, the sport isn’t like most club sports where you can come whenever just to have fun. We consider ourselves a serious team if you want to play on the team. You have to be willing to be committed.”

Whitman’s Ultimate team’s talent matches the teams’ high competitive expectations. Last year in Division I Regionals, both the men’s and women’s teams barely missed nationals cuts.

“We are the only [Division I] sport at Whitman that I know of, so it’s high-level competition at tournaments. Even it being so competitive, the team and the sport itself [are] super relaxed and welcoming. The Ultimate community is like a family, and the team is like your immediate family,” said Arkin.

The Ultimate teams practice three days a week: on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays, typically around 4:20 p.m. In the spring, the practices go up to five times a week.

“I really would encourage [first-years] to come out because it is a fun environment, a great sport to learn and if nothing else, a great way to meet new people,” said Arkin.

Another sport that is starting to gain popularity is club soccer, which has pick-up games throughout the week and  occasional local tournaments. The team is open to all players who want to play soccer.

“[We have] high energy, [we are] welcoming and everyone just loves the game. It’s for anyone and everyone; we have some regulars, some people who come occasionally and always at least one new face,” said sophomore Emily Ford. “This year we’ve had full-on 11 v. 11 games because of a wonderful turnout.”

One of Whitman’s favorite IM sports is flag football, which has already gotten players out practicing on Ankeny. Let the games begin!

Sports Montage from Whitman Pioneer on Vimeo.

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