By Matt Crowley/The AS Review

With the school year in full swing and classes moving toward midterms, students may be looking for a way to break the monotony of academia. For many, Western’s intramural sports program offers that break, providing a way to stay in shape while balancing work with pleasure.

Each quarter, Western Campus Recreation Services sees about two to three thousand students participate in its intramural sports program.  Kendra Jackson, the intramural and sport club adviser, says the high participation rates show how important the program is to the student body.

“I think that it is a great opportunity to be active, play with friends and meet people.  I think we offer a nice balance of competition and fun at a great cost,” Jackson said.

The cost to play is around $5, depending on the sport and team size.  The cost of participation is low because the program is primarily funded by Western’s Services and Activities Fee.  Seven percent of the fee, or about $300,000, goes toward campus recreation, which encompasses the intramural program.

In the fall, students can choose between volleyball, dodgeball, flag football, basketball and soccer.  All sports offer corecreational leagues.  Dodgeball, football, basketball and soccer have men’s-only leagues, while volleyball, basketball and soccer have women’s-only leagues.  Badminton, racquetball and pingpong are also offered in small leagues due to the smaller team sizes.

Jackson said the sports for each season are usually chosen by what has done well in the past.

“We do try to introduce something new every once and a while to try new things,” she said.

For students who played sports in high school but can’t make the commitment to play in college, intramurals offer an opportunity to stay active in the sports they love.  Freshman Bo Hucks played football all through high school and joined an intramural flag football team when he arrived at Western.

“I like the fact that we can practice whenever we want and then go out and have fun,” Hucks said.

Freshman Erika Winner agreed.  Winner has played soccer for most of her life and is now playing for an intramural team.

“I like that it’s so relaxed and I get to play soccer again,” she said.

Jackson says the need to fill the void left by high school sports is what makes the program so popular with students.

“I love sports so I understand the desire to keep playing even if you can’t or don’t want to play varsity athletics,” she said.

Intramurals also allow students to play sports they may not have a lot of experience with.  More casual recreational leagues are offered along with competitive leagues to make games less about winning and more about having fun.

“You don’t have to feel like you’ve played recently, you can just go out and have fun,” said senior Sean Bannister, who plays on an intramural soccer team.  “It gives people a chance to try a new sport they haven’t done before.”

Off the field, the intramural program can help students keep their bank accounts full.  Campus Recreation Services employs students as field officials, intramural supervisors, assistants and scorekeepers, sometimes with mixed results.

“The refereeing can be a little frustrating but people are just trying to have fun so it’s not a big deal,” said Bannister.

In the competitive leagues, however, every little detail can make a difference in the quest for the league championship.  No trophies are given out here, though. Instead, the winning team in each league gets something even better: each member is awarded their own wearable bragging rights, a championship T-shirt usually referred to as just “The Shirt.”

But in the end, it’s all about having fun.  Campus Recreation Services states that their goal is “your enjoyment and helping to make your time here at Western special.”  And according to Hucks, they do a pretty good job.

“It brings people together. I’ve met so many new people just from intramurals.  It’s a blast,” he said.

WANT TO PLAY?
Campus Recreation Services will have intramural leagues for basketball, indoor soccer, dodgeball and more in the winter.  For more information on the intramurals program, visit the Campus Recreation Web site, which is linked on the Western homepage . Campus Recreation Services can be reached at campusrec@wwu.edu or by
calling (360) 650-3766.