O-Issue 2013: Intramurals

Too cool for school, too weak for varsity.

By Jake Walerius

Former University President Robert Maynard Hutchins once said, “Whenever I get the urge to exercise, I lie down until the feeling passes away.” Luckily for you, athletically-minded first year, Robert Maynard Hutchins has himself since passed away and campus is now awash with opportunities for the would-be student athlete, including intramural sports (IM).

There is a wide variety of intramurals on offer here at UChicago, from dodgeball to broomball to billiards to bags—a sport that consists of throwing beanbags at a target. A huge number of students take part in intramurals; as unlikely as it may seem that you could find not just one bags opponent, you can actually find enough to host an entire tournament.

The range of intensity of IM sports is huge. In general, intramurals are more laid back than varsity or club sports. That isn’t to say, however, that things don’t get serious. You can choose to compete with your house team—usually a more casual affair—or create your own team and join an independent league where the level of competition can be very high. The beauty is, it’s up to you.

Unlike a varsity or club sport, intramural teams do not receive funding from the University to travel to compete, though they are provided facilities, referees, and other equipment. All intramurals take place right here on campus, which gives you an opportunity to compete in a less competitive and more time-friendly (time-friendly activities will quickly become very important to you) way than varsity or club sports. So there’s really no excuse for missing out on your house’s run to the intramural Wiffle ball championship. And don’t worry if Wiffle ball is not your thing (although, frankly, I don’t understand how that could be possible), there are plenty more options to choose from.

Along with well-established sports such as basketball, flag football, and soccer, there are several less mainstream sports to take part in. Team sports include bowling, dodgeball, and kickball, while those interested in individual sports can try their hand at tennis, racquetball, and badminton, among others. There are also several less traditionally “athletic” options available. Chess, foosball, spades, and a host of other card games are a great way to experience intramural competition without getting out of breath.

Whether you’re a champion or not, intramurals are a lot of fun and a great way to meet people with similar interests. Just because the kickball season is over doesn’t mean you can’t get together every night at Crown for some pickup kickball with your teammates. Besides, you’ll need to start preparing early if you’re going to win it all next year.

Signing up for intramural competition couldn’t be easier. If you are competing with your house team then all you have to do is check your e-mail and sign up when your IM sports rep tells you to. If you’re competing as an individual or forming an independent team, you’ll have to head over to the intramurals office in Ratner, pay a small registration fee, and then you’re good to go. If you want more information, the intramurals office is the place to go, and they will give you more information than you thought existed on IM sports.