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Intramurals offer athletic alternative

November 9, 2006

Intramural sports are a huge part of the UW-River Falls community. Whether living on campus or off, students have the opportunity to participate in a variety of different sports on co-ed and single-sex teams.

They get the choice of playing competitively or just for fun.

Recreational Leadership Coordinator Kurran Sagan keeps track of the nine different leagues and 13 Intramural tournaments that are held throughout the school year.

“Intramurals provides a very convenient and fun activity on campus where you can pick and choose your favorite activity,” Sagan said. “You always get to play with your friends.”

Even though UWRF has 13 recognized Falcon sports teams, it’s Ultimate Frisbee, dodgeball and broomball that draw students as both participants and fans.

“I think that Intramurals give everyone an opportunity to play,” Sagan said. “That’s the bottom line.”

In all, there are eight different sports and nine leagues offered in various seasons throughout the school year.

Most students pick their sports and stick to them, but some students participate in as many events as possible, Sagan said.

Jeffrey Parker, an English major and Hathorn Hall resident, is one of the students who gets involved with Intramurals whenever his schedule allows.

Sagan refers to him as an “Intramural superstar.”

“It’s just a great way to have some fun,” Parker said. “It’s a chance to hang out with friends, and the different levels of competition make it so everyone can be involved regardless of talent or athletic ability.”

The leagues are separated into competitive and recreational groups.

Both offer a fair amount of fun and competition, but the competitive league allows more aggression and serious play.

Sagan and Parker, along with the recreational staff, have put a lot of effort into e-mailing the campus about events and strategically placing signs throughout campus for everyone to see.

“Intramurals are amazing because there’s so many different sports offered,” Parker said.

This fall, Intramurals has offered co-ed Ultimate Frisbee and soccer, as well as an all-male league of flag football.

Sagan said women’s and co-ed flag football have been offered on numerous occasions, but the interest has not been great enough to get a league started.

Being played this month is co-ed volleyball, as well as separate leagues for men’s and women’s broomball.

The volleyball season is short, ending at the end of the academic semester, but broomball continues in January, along with men’s and women’s Intramural basketball.

The spring semester will conclude with co-ed leagues of softball and dodgeball.

But the leagues offered September through May are not the only events Intramurals offers to students on campus.

There are 13 tournaments that stand alone and offer sports that are not organized as full-fledged leagues, including kickball, floor hockey, badminton, golf and sand volleyball.

Intramural sports are offered to all interested students, whether they live on or off campus.

Five years ago there were on-campus and off-campus leagues, making it simple to judge how many students living in each place participate, but now the leagues are combined, Sagan said. He hopes that more off-campus students get involved.

“Primarily, students just pick their sport and play with whatever team they can,” Sagan said. “But at every event there are usually about 20 to 30 students.”

Intramural events at UWRF are currently limited to just athletics, but as in the past, more passive recreational activities are on the list to be offered in the future.

Other schools around the country, including UW-Madison and UW-Eau Claire, have expanded their intramural activities to include events like Texas Hold ‘em and chess.

“It’s definitely something that I want to do more of,” Sagan said. “Those passive recreation sports are a part of students’ lives outside of campus, so I’m sure they would draw students to participate on campus as well.”

Intramural sports at UWRF have been offered for 29 years. The organization was initiated by Vicki Hajewski when she was the recreational coordinator.

Hajewski is now the director of Student Life, and still passionate about Intramurals and student activities on campus, Sagan said.

“I attribute the popularity of the program in those early days to the fact that there really were not very many other things to do both on and off campus,” Hajewski said.

Broomball and volleyball were the student favorites in the very beginning, and that tradition has continued to today drawing in the largest crowds. At its peak, volleyball had 150 participants.

“Intramurals offers healthy, active recreation in both team and individual sports, and it’s a great way to relieve stress,” Hajewski said. “Except for those competitive few who take things too seriously.”

All current UWRF students, faculty and staff can participate in any Intramural activity, as long as a UWRF ID is presented at sign-up.

“Students need to have fun and to just play sometimes,” Hajewski said. “Intramurals provides a safe and structured environment for that.”

Volleyball and broomball are now underway, but a three-on-three basketball tournament is coming up Nov. 20.

The deadline for registration is Nov. 17, and it costs $10. There are separate brackets for men’s and women’s teams.

“I really encourage everyone to come out for leagues or tournaments,” Sagan said. “Intramurals are definitely not just for students living on campus. It’s a great way to meet new people and have a lot of fun.”