Almost half of college students participate in recreational activities provided by their campus, and Jacksonville University is no exception.
One of the many ways JU students get involved is though the intramural (IM) sports program. Ranging from beginners to the most advanced players, IM participants are provided a healthy, fun and competitive way to meet new students and escape the stresses of school.
With the release of the program list at the beginning of the year, students were surprised to see the addition of new sports to the roster; such as, inner-tube water polo, corn hole, ultimate Frisbee, and foot tennis.
Sophomore and IM team creator, Cassidy Baker, believes the new sports will attract more participants.
“Sports like corn hole are much less physically demanding, less time consuming, and you don’t have to be a pro to play,” Baker says. “Plus, it’s a fun and simple game to play and I think that aspect will definitely draw more people to intramurals.”
While many organizations on campus have their own IM teams created, players aren’t required to be affiliated with an organization to participate.
“You can still register with a group of your friends or even go in as what they call a ‘free agent’ and join an open team as a single player,” says Baker.
Students across campus are encouraged to participate in extracurricular activities, and having the ability to join any team provides opportunities to meet fellow peers. Junior and IM participant, Paige Warnock, is thankful for the relationships that she formed through intramurals.
“IM has introduced me to different groups of people I normally wouldn’t have had the chance to be around,” Warnock says. “A lot of the friends I have now, I met through one of flag football teams my freshman year. Even now, we still compete together and its only brought us closer.”
Many of the incoming students also turn to extracurricular activities to meet new people, and freshman Caroline Cook, used the inner-tube water polo team as a way to connect with her peers.
“Inner-tube water polo was something that seemed really unique and a lot of fun,” says Cook. “At the same time, I really wanted to participate because I wanted to make more friends. My teammates were immediately welcoming and this is definitely something that I want to do again.”
According to the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators journal, there are five social benefits from participating in intramurals—personal-social, cultural, university integration, social group bonding, and reliable alliance. Those benefits, going from improving leadership abilities to increasing a sense of belonging, all help students nationwide.
While being in a fun and relaxing environment, many players learn more about themselves and how to work better with other people without even realizing it.
“It honestly has changed me,” says Cook. “It make me a better sport about things and I learned to just laugh it off and not worry about winning or losing.”
With the second wave of sign-ups ending this week, coordinators are hoping the spike in involvement will continue throughout the rest of the year. Students are encouraged to go out and participate in, or even simply support, the sports that are going on right now.
“You can even come in having never played the sport,” says Baker. “During the season you’ll learn and have a great time playing.”