Whoosh! A red ball flies towards someone, and they dodge just in time. The squeaks of tennis shoes against a gym floor ring out above the crowd. Laughter and cheering fills the Healthplex.
A crowd gathered at the Baptist Healthplex to participate in the first night of intramural dodge ball, watch the games, hang out with friends, and show off some dance moves to the loud, fun music being played over the speakers.
The first night of intramurals started off with a bang and may just be a foreshadowing of a huge year for Choctaw intramural sports.
Trevor Leanard, a freshman majoring in computer science and a member of the football team, was not going to stop by the Healthplex Monday night. He decided to walk in and see what was going on and got involved in a game of dodge ball.
“It was intense! I was on an all-girl team, but that being said they played very well,” he said. Leanard also said that if he has time outside of his football schedule, he will definitely be playing more intramurals.
“It’s fun interacting with people you might never meet till you go to these events. Therefore, what I’m saying is keep bringing events like this for people to grow a better bond with each other.”
He should have plenty of chances to attend similar events because the student staff overseeing the intramural sports has more planned this year than ever before, and they want as many people as possible to show up and participate.
“We’ve added a lot of sports that will appeal to everyone, not just highly athletic people,” said Nathan Rector, a junior math major and the assistant director of intramurals.
“We’ve added sports like ultimate Frisbee and disc golf-sports where you don’t have to be a serious athlete or an athlete your whole life to play.”
Other new sports like water volleyball have been added, and the sports being played will change up as the season progresses. “There will also be a lot more coed leagues,” said Rector.
Something else new this year is Fall Breakout Week, a week with a different specific sport every night starting on Monday, Sept. 23. Sports like floor hockey, bowling, and three-on-three basketball will be played.
Rector said that one of the big goals for this year is to have a lot more student and fan involvement.
“We want a ton of involvement! We want clubs and tribes to come and make teams and a lot more girl involvement. We want the fans to come out every night,” Rector said.
So far their numbers of people signing up for teams is greater than last year, and that is thanks due in part to a great welcome week this year.
“Intramurals has the highest student involvement of anything. We’re trying to reach everyone,” said Jonathan Nutt, the assistant director of student services. About some of the goals for this year, he added, “we want everyone to be able to come, not just one group of people.”
One way that MC Intramurals is hoping to attract new participants is with its new Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook accounts.
The intramurals staff is trying to get more involvement from fans with potential prizes like t-shirts or coupons to some sponsored businesses for posting pictures of events on Twitter and Instagram.
Nutt said he was proud of the hard work the staff has done getting ready this year for intramurals. “Things are going really well. We have a lot more on the calendar than we did last year.
Our biggest thing in the fall is flag football, which starts the end of the month until Thanksgiving. Also, they have been planning to play Ultimate Frisbee with Belhaven in Jackson one Saturday this semester.
“Our student directors have worked hard to put a great schedule together. Rush week will be the only week where there will be no intramural athletics,” Nutt added.
There are few restrictions for Intramurals. Students who play a sport for the school cannot play the same sport in intramurals as well. Also students who have played professionally have to have been off for at least two years.
There is a deadline specific for each sport for when players can sign up, and it will usually be the Friday or Saturday before the season starts.
Winning teams get a free t-shirt, and, of course, bragging rights. But the best rewards are those that go to everyone who plays: meeting new people, fun times, and creating great memories while making the most of their time at MC.
– James Osborne, Contributing Writer