It is about that time of year at Ferris: the weather gets colder, leaves begin falling and intramural (IM) sports return.
For many students, the experience of intramural sports last year was a shadow of its average popularity. Due to COVID-19 protocols, Ferris canceled many sports for health concerns or low participation. Fast forward a year later, and IM sports are making a return in 2021.
“It’s exciting to bring back sports such as flag football, soccer and softball,” Associate Director of Recreation Stoney Hart said. “These sports have always been traditional in intramural programs, and they were missed last year.”
According to Hart, not only are the traditional sports making a return, but some fan-favorite sports will be resuming this fall as well.
“We offered kickball and sand volleyball during COVID, and we have brought them back again this Fall,” Hart said. “We will have 5-on-5 basketball and dodgeball later this semester, which we did not offer during COVID. Our most popular sport, 6-on-6 volleyball, will return later in the semester as well.”
With last season being a minimal resemblance of its standard draw, many of the current second-year students could not experience the aura of intramural sports. Hart believes there is an emphasis on changing this year’s outreach.
“Our goal right now is to try to find the new freshmen and sophomores from last year,” Hart said. “The ‘UREC’ staff is working hard to meet students and let them know about the upcoming seasons.”
Despite the pandemic-induced absence, Hart and the University Recreation department believe it is time to get IM’s rolling again.
“Our staff and I felt this was the perfect time to have more open leagues and give students the ability to choose their preferences,” Hart said. “The goal this semester for the staff and me is to set a solid foundation for how intramurals will look for years to come.”
The students that got to experience pre-pandemic intramural sports, like third-year student Joe Nagy, didn’t have the same feeling with intramurals last year.
“Last year, it was quite a bummer to have not as many IMs,” Nagy said. “I think this year [many] people are excited for them to be back.”
For Nagy, intramural sports provide an experience that goes beyond the sports themselves. It’s about the people that play them.
“My favorite part about playing IM sports is being able to meet some new people,” Nagy said. “It also gives me another way to hang out with friends. While intramural sports can improve athletic ability, students can obtain other skills from playing intramurals.”
Hart talked about some of the other skills students can obtain from playing IM’s.
“Participation in intramurals helps students further develop their social skills, co-operation, teamwork, physical literacy and overall health,” Hart said. “Studies show that students who play intramurals have higher GPAs than the rest of the student body. Learning time management and leadership are also reasons why students should play intramurals.”
Hart is looking forward to having new officials come in this year.
“I like the new referees that are coming in,” Hart said. “I like it when they take ownership of the program and try to make it better.”
To sign up for intramural sports, visit www.IMLeagues.com. For more information on university recreation, search “Recreation” at ferris.edu.