A student sits in a dorm room, bored on a weekday night. His homework’s been done, reruns are rampant on his 13-inch television and his hallway reminds him of an old western ghost town. The idea of wandering around Liacouras Walk sounds somewhat appealing, but for him, the adventurous and social type, there is another option.
Sophomore business major Tim Bacak finds participating in intramural sports to be a great way to meet people with similar interests.
Intramural sports are just another solution to every student’s quest for a fun and social activity on Temple’s campus. From co-ed to single-sex leagues, intramurals provide students with an organized activity that boasts competition and fitness to those willing to sign up.
“If you are still hanging out with that kid on the floor named Crazy Carl in November, there is a slight possibility that you did not branch out all that much,” Bacak said. “I met a fair share of my friends through intramural soccer and pick-up games last year, and I had a lot of fun, too.”
The fall season of intramural sports allows students to choose from high or low competition volleyball, outdoor soccer, flag football or basketball. Spring choices include indoor soccer, floor hockey, softball or dodge ball, which, at four years old, is Temple’s most recent addition to intramurals.
Although most of these leagues are single-sex, some do allow male and female students to join teams together. Joining a league is simple. Most students get a group together from student organizations, Greek life, residence halls or class. Students can also sign up as free agents and be placed on a random team.
That fear of being chosen last like in gym class won’t occur with intramurals. Though every person that signs up is put on a team, the skill level of a team is never guaranteed to lead to the championships.
“I was really into basketball and soccer in high school but never saw myself playing for the Temple team,” said senior finance major Abhay Nair. “I’m thinking about joining the intramural league this year as a free agent because I really want to get myself in shape and playing a sport is my favorite way.”
All teams pay a required $40 fee, which is refunded at the end of the season if there are no fights or forfeits from the team.
Surprisingly, the biggest obstacle that the intramural coordinators face is not conflict or a need for students to participate, but the lack of enough outdoor space for games. Even without the availability of more locations, more people participate in intramural sports each year.
“We would be able to schedule more games for leagues if we had more fields and turfs, ideally,” said Raymond DeStephanis, intramural sports coordinator and a Temple alumnus. “Our flag football league is at the top right now with the most number of teams. About 77 teams have signed up and we have six on a waiting list.”
Outdoor soccer has 46 teams signed up, while volleyball has 40 teams. With the continual growth of programs like intramural sports, students are becoming more aware of student activities offered by the university.
According to recent statistics from the intramural program, about 15,000 players sign up each season for an intramural sport, which is double the amount that DeStephanis saw when he first began working at Temple six years ago.
Those aren’t the only numbers going up.
“Sixty-eight percent of students participate in recreational programs on campus, whether it is intramural sports, one of the more than 25 sports clubs, the IBC or even just using the pool and turf areas,” said Steve Young, director of Campus Recreation. “It goes to show how Temple students are really taking advantage of our programs.”
When comparing sports clubs, like ice hockey, badminton and fencing, there are some basic differences that many students aren’t aware of. Sports clubs offered by the Campus Recreation office involve playing against other schools and not just Temple students. The clubs require traveling to different areas, practices, higher fees and in some cases tryouts.
Sports clubs are a step up from intramurals when it comes to time and dedication.
“The Temple intramural sports give students a chance to participate in Temple athletics with their friends, without the added pressure of weekly practices or away games that we would have in high school,” said junior Gopi Patel, who recently participated in the intramural volleyball league.
Every student has a choice to make about dedication when choosing between intramurals or a sports club. Intramurals offer games at different hours, which allows students to learn the fundamentals of managing their time well.
Intramural sports allow anyone to take advantage of a Temple program while also participating in a fun and aggressive game of their choice.
Team members can become close friends on and off the playing field.
“Intramurals unite freshmen when they come to college,” said undeclared freshman Eric Wilder. “I plan on playing every season with my friends.”
Melissa Alam can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.