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Intramurals Offer Well-Rounded Atmosphere
4/18/2006 - by Jake Donelan
If you ask any participant why they play intramural sports they’ll tell you they want to win a shirt. But, intramural sports are so much more than a t-shirt.

Intramural is a Latin word that translates to mean “within the walls.” Such sports are most commonly noted as games or recreational activities organized within the walls of a school that build upon the skills learned in physical education classes. In college, such sports are used just as much for social networking as they are for a physical outlet.

Kevin Mulroney, a senior at Northern Kentucky University, noticed those same qualities in the intramural department at his school while playing on a men’s flag football team and a co-recreational softball team.

“Besides the obvious reasons for playing, fun and competition, I made new friends that can help me network through college and even after graduation,” he said.

Kyle Thomas, a sophomore at the University of Kentucky, said he has enjoyed the social aspects of intramural sports as well.

“The men’s teams I play on are all guys from my dorm,” Thomas said. “It really helps you get to know your dorm mates better. By playing together you gain a trust with the other guys and that translates into how we act around each other in the dorms.”

Charlie Burke, the director of the intramural department at UK, agrees that the best thing intramural sports have to offer are friendships.

“Intramurals allow students in the dorms, clubs, organizations or even just who met here at the Johnson Center (UK’s fitness center) to put teams together and get to know each other through shared competition,” he said.

“Students will play on one team together then start to make other teams together. The bonds of sports and competition are some of the greatest bonds one can experience an intramurals can help create bonds that last a lifetime.”

Christina Kurapkat was the intramural chair for Chi Omega, a sorority at UK. She was drawn to intramurals because she liked flag football but said intramurals in general were a thing of pride for her sorority.

“Greek leagues are so competitive because they are focused on Greek Points and bragging rights throughout the Greek community,” she said.

Greek points are a system used by many intramural departments that keeps a year long tally on points gained through participation in events by fraternities and sororities. It is a much coveted championship that is rewarded simply with bragging rights among other fraternities and sororities.

Yet, participating in intramurals isn’t the only way to score points. Burke said that intramurals offer more than just an opportunity to compete on the athletic fields. Intramurals provides life lessons and work experience gained as a student official.

“(Our) officials will learn to deal with a variety of people in less than ideal situations,” he said. “They will definitely learn just how much patience they have and how patience is applied in everyday life.”

Burke warns that an intramural official’s job isn’t for the weary. It is a tough job to have to officiate your peers, he said.

“There are many jobs on campus that anyone can do; not everyone can be an official. It takes a special kind of person to do the job and keep doing the job. Those that stay for the long haul come away better prepared for what life will throw at them than those who didn’t make it or never tried,” he said.

If a team gets the glory to win an intramural championship they are rewarded with a nice, new t-shirt. But, over time the shirt will fade and become tattered and eventually will be thrown away. The memories made earning that shirt, however, will never be washed away.
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