IM Committee Holds Great Power, Responsibility

Kelsey Peck

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Illustration by MaryAnne Bowen

While the beginning of the school year brings the start of many things, to some only one is important: the return of intramural sports. From flag football to mini golf, tennis to Ultimate Frisbee, there are nine different IM sports to participate in, and according to the Office of Admission, 75 percent of the student body takes that opportunity. Needless to say, intramural sports are big at Whitman College. While a significant percentage of Whitman students participate in IM sports, there are a few who go beyond the playing field. The IM Sports Committee is a group of students dedicated to the continuation and success of IM sports on campus, and without them our IM sports would fail to be at such a great level.

The committee, according to chair Brian Choe, has two main obligations: to make sure IM sports run smoothly throughout the year and to maintain the safety of the players.

While IM athletes get time off, the committee never stops working. They organize schedules, playing venues, teams, participants, game rules, player safety, participating sports and countless other aspects that go into IM sports games. They are the backbone of IM sports at Whitman. Among these regular duties, the committee performs even more tasks before IM season even begins. This year is no exception, as the committee has done plenty to prepare for the year ahead.

According to Choe, the group has already begun working to inform people about imleagues.com, a new site that handles all the registration for IM sports, as well as tracks schedules and scores, making information much more accessible to the public. Even further, the committee has begun to change certain aspects of IM football, a popular sport going into the fall season. While IM sports games are fun ways to compete, they are also intense and can often lead to injury. For this reason, the committee has re-evaluated the rules and, with the player’s safety in mind, changed them.

“We are changing the rules to eliminate full on blocking with the hands. We as a committee did research on other schools in our area and found that we are the only school in the area that allows this much contact,” said Choe.

While Choe admits this will alter the nature of the sport, he reassures that it will maintain the safety of the players while hopefully keeping the sport at the same energy level. With this change, it is also the committee’s obligation to inform officials and players of these new conditions.

It’s obvious that no matter what the topic, be it organization or player safety, the IM Committee is always preparing for what lies ahead. With such significant responsibilities, it’s hard to imagine a committee so successful as ours. On top of heavy academic course loads and countless other responsibilities, the members perform without fail.

“Everyone on board is fun to hang out with and easy to collaborate with. I’ve always felt listened to, and it’s a great work environment,” said Michael Augustine, a sophomore who is beginning his first year on the committee.

Such passion and dedication to IM sports, despite many other personal responsibilities, can only be attributed to a love for the impact these sports have on people and Whitman.

“I loved my experience freshman year playing many different IM sports, and thus I wanted to give back. I had a lot of ideas of how to make IM sports better and like to organize things such as this,” said Choe.

And the rest of the students who participate attribute just as much praise to IM sports, crediting them as stress relievers, a fun thing to do on weekends, a way to bond with the Whitman community and an outlet to compete, either at the D1 or D2 levels. Augustine enjoyed playing IM sports last year and hopes others give themselves the opportunity to enjoy themselves as well this year.

“Anyone who has even a bit of interest in hanging out with friends and messing around on the tennis courts, volleyball pitch or hardwood basketball courts should definitely make a team,” said Augustine.

Yet, despite the praise, some still doubt the validity of competition in IM sports. Some fail to participate, insisting the level of intensity is not at par or does not live up to their own standards, an opinion that Choe refutes. 

“I would say that’s why we have two divisions for almost every sport. Yes, some sports vary in degree of competition, but it’s hard to argue that sports like D1 soccer, ultimate and basketball lack serious competition,” said Choe.

With both D1 and D2 levels, participants argue that it’s easy to find a team and a level that will make the IM sports experience here at Whitman satisfactory and fun for all players.

“I can’t wait for this season of IM sports to begin,” said sophomore Brianna Brown, who won an IM softball title with her team last year. “It’s an opportunity to compete with friends in a sport that is new to me.”

Brown will not only compete again, but says that she’s going for another title, eager to win a second IM champion blue shirt to add to her collection. Thanks to the IM Sports Committee, many other athletes will have enjoyable experiences competing alongside Brown for blue shirts.

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