Intramurals provide fitness, friendship for student body
According to LiveStrong.com, between 30 and 40 million children in the United States between the ages of 5 and 18 play organized sports each year.
Millions of these athletes are forced to hang up their cleats for the final time after graduating high school, for many, ending their competitive sporting careers in the prime of their athletic ability.
Intramurals Coordinator David Tippett and his staff are actively trying to create a place for the aspiring athletes– students, faculty and alumni– of MTSU.
“We want to get out there, and we want to have a good time and enjoy what we’re doing,” said Tippett, who graduated from MTSU with a master’s degree in recreation and leisure management. “You don’t necessarily have to be a great athlete, but at the end of the day, when it becomes playoff time, everyone wants a t-shirt and everyone wants to compete. So, it’s on that scale of people who just want to be active and hang out with friends to people who were high school athletes or even college athletes who are just now looking for that competitiveness.”
MTSU Intramurals offer a wide variety of sports, including flag football, basketball, indoor soccer, indoor volleyball and indoor baseball this fall.
The department also sponsors several tournaments, such as three-versus-three basketball, softball, and homecoming week activities.
“I think that if you haven’t tried it, you need to. We have a wide variety of things on the schedule for a reason. We’re trying to pique the interest of everybody on this campus, and, at the end of the day, college is a stressful time. Playing intramurals is a way for you to go out and get your exercise in a controlled environment that’s going to give a little bit of competition if you want it, but if you don’t, you can get away from things for a while,” Tippett said.
Homecoming has become somewhat of a student favorite and this year’s schedule will include a dodgeball, kickball and golf tournament, yard games and a 5k run. The Sept. 29-Oct. 2 events give less-competitive players a chance to be part of the intramural action and show their school pride during homecoming week.
“Those are things that people grew up playing when they were kids,” said Troy Berry, intramurals assistant. “No matter where they went to school, no matter if they loved sports or hated sports; it’s a good way for people to come out and have fun and just spend a lot of time together.”
Camaraderie is a common theme among the those involved with MTSU’s intramural program, and the staff champions the family atmosphere that has been created and opportunities to build life-long friendships with those who take the field of play alongside each other.
“What I think it affords is a way to meet people, a way to get involved in things with people that you enjoy and they enjoy; you find common ground,” said Tippett. “I think we have built a family atmosphere amongst our staff and the people who work here and especially within our program. We talk about it, we preach it, that’s what we do.”
For those who do not want to be a part of the on-field action, there are still plenty of ways to get involved.
Tippett teaches a class on coaching and officiating intramural sports at MTSU, and the officiating for MTSU’s intramural sports is done in-house by the students and staff. The training is intensive and continues throughout the year, with a whole week dedicated to fully training officials for many of the major sports. Officials get paid by the university for their work.
The intramural program gives back to community, as well.
The MTSU Intramurals department is involved with the Boys and Girls Club, the YMCA and various local religious organizations. In addition, its facilities, staff and equipment are open to a host of groups on campus, and the department has recently started a scholarship fund for the student staff, to reward them for the day in, day out upkeep that it takes to keep the program running.
The program truly does have something for everyone, whether you want to get involved with preparation, officiating or as a member of any of a variety of sporting teams.
“The rec center in general is a fantastic place to be to just relax and meet new people and try new things. That’s what we’re trying to do. That’s what it’s all about,” Tippett said.
You can learn more about MTSU Intramurals by checking out their Facebook (MTSU Intramurals), Twitter (@MTSUIntramurals) or by calling their hotline (615-898-4FUN).