As many Geneseo students look for ways to meet new people who share similar interests, the college's intramural sports program serves as a reminder that one does not have to be a varsity athlete to have fun playing in an organized sports league in college. Geneseo recreation coordinator Brooks Hawley does quite a bit of work to make sure that the leagues run smoothly for the benefit of the students.
"First, you have to advertise for the leagues, tournaments and off campus trips, then you need to have the deadline by which everyone gets their information in. After that, you have to train the referees for all of the sports that you offer,” Hawley said. “Then you have to hold the captain meetings where you hand out the rules and schedules. And between the deadlines and captain meetings, I actually make all of the schedules for men's, women's and co-ed divisions in each sport."
The school is offering intramural sports leagues for flag football, outdoor soccer, volleyball, badminton and pickleball this semester. According to Hawley, there are 25 football teams, 37 soccer teams, 42 volleyball teams and 31 badminton teams, each with at least several students. Even pickleball—a lesser-known sport that has only been offered for one year—has attracted enough students to form 12 teams.
For many students, the main justification to join an intramural sports league is to make friends and stay in shape.
"Intramurals was a great way for me to meet new people and to find people who were interested in the same stuff as me,” senior Jay Davine said. "It was nice to have intramurals to come to and to participate in to stay active.”
Another important benefit that applies specifically to team captains is the development of leadership qualities.
"To be a captain also requires leadership skills because you need to organize everyone and let everyone know the rules,” Hawley said. "Organizational skills are very important.”
By Hawley's estimate, approximately 50 percent of the student population participates in intramural leagues, tournaments or off-campus trips. Those off-campus trips—which are usually offered twice per semester—can also provide fun and unique experiences for students.
"This weekend we're having an off-campus trip to an adventure park where you can climb trees, zip line and go from tree-to-tree using different contraptions,” Hawley said.
A trip will be held later in the semester that takes students to a trampoline park. In the spring, skiing, snowboarding and whitewater rafting adventures have already been planned.
Intramural leagues should be strongly considered for those who are trying to make friends or simply avoid the “freshman 15.” Although there are some intense intramural tournaments, there are also less competitive co-ed leagues for each sport as well.
"It's a great way to meet new people,” Hawley said. "The more you get involved on campus, the more people you're going to meet. Being on a team builds a sense of camaraderie and togetherness. You feel the joy of a win or the pain of a loss with the members of your team."