Take a break with intramurals at SRU

Published by Brendan Howe, Author: Brendan Howe - Senior Rocket Contributor , Date: March 21, 2019
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The Robert N. Aebersold Student Recreation Center (ARC) located on Slippery Rock's campus. The ARC is home to a weight room, several basketball courts and an indoor track/pool.

The tedious everyday routine that comes with being in college will wear on a student eventually. For those who look for a much-needed recreational break from educational demands, Slippery Rock University provides an array of intramural sports throughout the academic year.

The process of getting involved in an intramural is uncomplicated. Any student has access to create a free IMLeagues account using their SRU identification. A list of sports and days they are available for a certain session, their registration deadlines, and season start and end dates are all organized on this website.

With no preconditions of athletic experience, participants can organize their own teams and contend for the Intramural Championships. Two different leagues, named after the reward the champion collects, are given. The T-Shirt leagues are more of a recreational division, whereas the Mug leagues are more competitive.

“Not all high school athletes move on to become varsity athletes in college, which makes intramurals perfect for them,” said Brandon Smithson, the Head Supervisor for Recreational Sports. “If you played sports in high school and want to maintain your skill levels, signing up for intramurals will allow you to continue doing what you love.”

Most popular among the sports options are those that are typically offered in high school: volleyball, flag football, basketball and soccer. These sports allow students to relive past glories or to partake in a sport that they were unable to in their secondary schooling.

Moreover, Slippery Rock offers sports that are more commonly seen in physical education classes, then are fielded in a competitive setting. These include ultimate frisbee, pickleball, badminton, dodgeball and even wheelchair basketball and a cornhole tournament.

Students can also become involved through employment. Each semester, new and returning students are hired as game officials. No prior officiating experience is required and all that that is asked for is a willingness and passion for the sport they choose to officiate. Roughly 20-45 officials help maintain rules, policies and procedures.

A good deal of behind-the-scenes work goes into organizing the competitive environment. During breaks, coordination with things such as hiring and training help to ensure the leagues run smoothly and successfully. Alongside the professional staff and officials, as many as a dozen student workers supervise and help manage event operations.

According to Smithson, participation in intramurals affords an opportunity to develop essential qualities of leadership, cooperation, self-reliance and a sense of fair play.

“Getting some exercise is a great study break,” he said. “It gets you out of your room and away from textbooks. Physical activity increases your endorphin levels, which help you feel good and improve your overall mood.”

The leagues also present an opportunity to stay fit and healthy and to channel stress for those who don’t or are unable to visit the gym on a regular basis.

“As exams roll around and you find yourself with little time or motivation to stay active, committing yourself to a sport can make all the difference for your health,” Smithson said. “School is full of emotional highs and lows, and sometimes you can’t help feeling burned out by the intensive workload. By playing sports, you can channel your energy into something that’s positive and constructive.”

The Recreational Sports department looks to add new sports and tournaments each semester and is currently in the planning phase for the fall.