By Gabriela Badard, Contributing Writer
The overwhelming sound of people shouting, sneakers screeching on the polished floors and bouncing basketballs fills the air. It’s a Thursday night, and students have gathered in Draddy Gymnasium for intramural basketball.
Each week, the three-on-three men’s and coed teams — often consisting of two boys and one girl, meet up and play against each other. From 7:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m., each team plays at least two games on half a court for a total of 30 minutes.
Some are fighting to make it to the championships at the end of the season, while others compete to keep their winning title.
“We haven’t lost a game in two years,” Julien Akayesu, senior finance major, said.
He is one of the few students to have been brave enough to try out as a walk on for the school’s basketball team, but although he didn’t make it, he didn’t give up on his love for the game.
After joining the intramural program in his freshman year with a couple of his new friends, Akayesu has been on a massive winning streak.
This has even included winning the five-on-five championships last spring. Following this big win, Akayesu and his other teammates flew out to Boston University to compete in an intercollegiate intramural competition against other northeastern teams.
Intramural sports are not only a recreational way for students to play the sport they love, but also a way to make friends and engage in healthy competition. Manhattan College offers seven different intramural leagues for students who want to exert some energy in a productive way.
“This semester alone, there are over 700 students enrolled in all sports,” Kyle deManincor, the recreation coordinator, said.
The most popular options are basketball and flag football.
Some students even participate in more than one sport, like Michael Moon, an electrical engineering major who plays in three leagues: flag football, basketball and indoor soccer.
“I’ve got a lot to study for,” Moon said, “so to be able to kill an hour and just have fun is really worth it to me.”
Like Akayesu, Moon also defends a winning title, having scored the highest number of points in a single game. But the sports are not all about the points and the teams’ ranks. The intramural program grades students on their sportsmanship and those with the lowest grades risk being kicked out of the league.
“Competitiveness is good,” Moon said, “but some take it too far and get aggressive towards their teammates.”
Although sportsmanship has been good for the most part this year, the student activities staff has encountered other issues. Intramurals is often overlooked for the sake of the varsity teams. It is difficult for them to find space and time for games in Draddy and Gaelic Park. This year has also seen a higher rate of teams forfeiting or dropping out.
However, these obstacles have not stopped the staff from staying optimistic. Working as a team and with a limited budget, they have successfully organized a trip for the championship teams of flag football to MetLife Stadium — home of the New York Giants and Jets.
The program is still developing and is always open to new ideas for sports, and thanks to the 35 students that are staff members and the one graduate assistant, it runs smoothly.
“My staff deserves most of the recognition,” deManincor said. “They are the backbone of the program and the engine that runs it.”