Intramural Sports Kicks Off Another Year

Arie Knops, Sports Writer

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Now that the 2016-2017 academic year has begun, another season of intramural sports is finally underway. The driving force behind the IM calendar is the IM committee, a group of consisting of two representatives from each grade that work hard behind the scenes to organize this treasured aspect of Whitman culture.

Intramural Sports are one of Whitman’s most popular pastimes, with close to 80 percent of students on campus participating each year. The IM Sports schedule is divided into two distinct seasons in the Fall and two distinct seasons in the Spring. Football and tennis begin the year, explaining why Saturday mornings on Ankeny are characterized by cones and the loud shriek of referee’s whistles. Next up are basketball and soccer, two of the most popular IM sports offered. Once students return from Winter Break, and snow covers Ankeny Field, the schedule transitions to dodgeball and table tennis.  Lastly, the year comes to a close when a triumvirate of sports—softball, ultimate frisbee and volleyball—take center stage.

Most intramural sports are separated into two divisions. Division 1 is for those who wish to compete at the highest level that intramural sports has to offer, while Division 2 is typically for those who are slightly less experienced and are looking for a less competitive atmosphere. The championship team in each division is presented with a set of coveted “Blue Shirts,” a tradition unchanged at Whitman for decades.

Luke Hampton ’16, the current Resident Director of Anderson Hall, has been a frequent intramural participant throughout the years and this set of experiences has led him to believe he has discovered the five secrets to intramurals.

These are my secrets. Four years of experience, seven blue shirts, five championship games lost and it all boiled down to this knowledge,” Hampton said. “The first secret is attendance. This is the foundation to every successful intramural team. Second, is strategy. Third, is skill. Fourth, is athleticism. And last, but not least, the fifth secret, is… attendance.”

Whitman’s program remains student-run through the Intramural Committee, a group of students whose mission statement is “to provide a safe, fun and competitive environment for the student body to play sports.” The committee meets regularly to outline rules and organize matches at a variety of locations across campus, depending on the sport.

Junior Melissa Lawrence, a member of the IM, recognized the importance of intramural sports.

“IM sports are ideal study breaks and inclusive to students of all athletic abilities… once you play your first intramural sport you are hooked and can’t help but play every single other one with your friends,” Lawrence said.

“I think that the primary functions of intramural sports are to give students an opportunity to meet new people, deepen relationships with members of their team, and have fun in a fitness-based way,” Katharine Curles, Assistant Director of Student Activities and faculty advisor to the Intramural Committee added.

The popularity of Whitman’s intramural sports has been recognized nationally, with The Princeton Review ranked Whitman #15 for “Everyone Plays Intramural Sports,” and BestColleges.com ranked Whitman’s intramural sports program one of the 50 Best Intramural Sports Programs in 2015.

“I think that they are so popular because a lot of students played sports in high school and are looking for a way to continue being athletic in college without it taking up all of their time,” Ethan Phillips, a sophomore member of the IM Committee said. “Another thing that I think helps is the multitude of sports available so everyone can find their niche.”

“You will never regret hitting the field with your friends for an intramural sports matchup,” Lawrence said. “So try it because they will become some of your fondest memories from Whitman.”

The continued success of the program suggests she is exactly right.