by RIKKILYNN SHIELDS, Editor
Intramural sports at Manhattan College have been around for about eight years, and you are probably wondering why a “sports” program is run by the Student Engagement office and not the Athletic Department.
According to John Bennett, the director of student engagement, originally the intramural sports program was started as a residential program to give the residents something to do at night, during the time when Lee Hall had just opened. Now, intramural sports are open to both residents and commuters, and have grown in the past eight years more than expected.
While Manhattan College also has plenty of Division I athletic teams, intramural teams are a great way to get involved on campus without the commitment of time and pressure that most of the Division I athletes go through.
“Intramurals are the sports that we offer nightly on campus, usually once you’re on a team, you get one or two games a week, so it’s not a huge time commitment, but it’s a great way to get out of your room and see friends and classmates in a social setting,” Bennett said.
From semester to semester, year to year, the intramural sports offered at Manhattan have changed, for better or for worse. This semester, basketball, dodgeball and softball are being offered. However, there has been a change made in the way that the teams are organized.
In prior years, most intramural sports offered the option for both male-only leagues and co-ed leagues. This year however, Student Engagement made the switch to offer only co-ed leagues..
“No one did anything wrong, but it’s a simple case of we just don’t have enough court time, or field time, this year,” Bennett said. “Athletics does a great job of sharing their facilities with us and letting us use their spaces when it’s free, but unlike some schools that have dedicated fieldhouses, courts and fields just for intramurals, all of ours are shared.”
“So it’s just a reasoning of timing. For instance, last year, we weren’t able to hold intramural softball, which I think everyone pretty much agrees, is the most popular co-ed intramural we have. It was just a case of not receiving enough field time to put a legitimate league and schedule together,” said Bennett. “The same thing essentially happened this year with court time in Draddy, with the times we received as available for intramurals, there wasn’t enough time to schedule multiple leagues.”
According to Bennett, aside from the switch to all co-ed leagues that happened this year, the biggest change that happens in intramural sports is the sports that are offered from year to year.
“It changes every year, in past years we’ve had enough court time for a men’s league, a co-ed league, and we’ve even offered a women’s league in basketball,” Bennett said. “And then there are those same years too sometimes where we don’t end up getting enough field time for softball. So it changes yearly depending on availability, but if we’re only going to have enough time to schedule only one league, that’s a no brainer, it must be co-ed so that it’s open to all students.”
“The other change is a few years ago we started to implement the IMLeagues.com system, which is a free platform for students to sign up with, and that’s where we do our scheduling of the games, which keeps everything more organized and professional,” said Bennett.
Throughout the years, Manhattan College has seen a variety of intramural sports, some more popular than others.
“Some students have recently expressed interest in tennis, so we’ll see if that gains any steam,” Bennett said. “I will say though, the staple sports that we offer every year students shouldn’t be worried about going away. We have [also] had Quidditch. That’s the Harry Potter sport, a few years ago, we held a tournament in Gaelic Park that was really successful. Ice hockey too has happened a few times, and last year, equestrian was starting to build some momentum, so we’ll see if that comes back this year if the students want to pursue that again.”
Participating in an intramural sports league at Manhattan College is a great way to make friends, and get involved. Whether you are interested in starting an intramural league of your own, or simply joining a sport for the fun of the game.
“[To join an intramural league…], either send an email to email@example.com, or just stop in one of our two offices, on the fourth floor of the Commons,” Bennett said. “A little secret is that every year, there are many students that email us asking to participate but not knowing enough people to start their own team, etc…and we will always put these students on a team.”
“I say this all the time, this is the best way to make new friends and meet new people on campus – we will literally put new people together to form new teams, and many times, they end up hitting it off and otherwise would have never met,” said Bennett.
Jordan McGinnis, a junior business management major, plays on the intramural softball team. During his freshman year, his co-ed team made it to the championship game, however lost in extra innings. The following year, intramural softball was not offered. McGinnis is excited for the season this year.
“I picked up softball about two years ago in my hometown,” McGinnis said. “My friends and I created a men’s team in an men’s adult league. I love playing co-ed softball because I get to hang out with all of my friends and enjoy an easy-going game. It is an inclusive experience for everyone.”
While McGinnis did not play softball prior to attending Manhattan College, his experience playing on the intramural league here nonetheless has been nothing but a great experience.
“My favorite part about intramurals is seeing the competitive nature of our student body,” McGinnis said. “I believe we have an extremely active student body here at Manhattan College. Ryan Corbett, our Intramural Director, does a fantastic job with the lack of resources and facilities at his disposal. He tries to give the student population a chance to enhance their experience here at Manhattan College, even though that isn’t a top priority for the school. The lack of court time and field time is baffling, but Ryan maximizes it.”
While the intramural sports are always changing, the amount of students participating is always increasing.
“It’s something healthy to do, being physically active a few nights a week, without a huge time commitment to interfere with classes and your studies,” Bennett said. “However, socially I feel it has the biggest benefits. It’s a great way to meet and make new friends in a relaxed atmosphere. Some of the games and teams are extremely competitive, but there are also many students that view intramurals as just a chance to get together and have some fun.”