A glimpse into the other side of sports: intramurals at UVM

? As is common on college campuses, much attention is given to Division I and club sports. For individuals that wish to get in on sports action without the high level commitment and pressure, UVM intramural sports offer an arena for sport goers to enjoy lively competition.             Levels of competition, from determined to goofy, are seen year-round in play. Teams playing intramural sports are typically groups of friends adding fuel to the entertaining environment on the field. During the fall and spring semesters, sports to choose from range from broomball and ice hockey to dodge ball and indoor soccer.              In addition to the variety of sports programs, there are also multiple divisions. Men’s, women’s and co-recreational leagues are available for play. Within those divisions, indoor soccer, ice hockey, squash and tennis, CoRec Broomball, and 5-on-5 basketball offer A and B leagues. Leagues designated as A leagues contain more advanced players, while B leagues range from beginners to intermediates.             The experiences for individuals in intramural sports are highly varied. Many students find themselves seeking to play a sport that they were involved in during high school. “I love intramurals because I miss sports so much. As an athletic kid that isn’t a D1 athlete I don’t have enough opportunities to play, especially with such a long winter,” Billy Harney, a member of the men’s soccer league said. “Intramurals allow an environment that allows healthy competitiveness that ends when the whistle goes. It’s a perfect little reminder of high school sports and lets the blood get flowing.”             Students participating in intramural sports are not limited to being players. The refs that conduct every intramural game are also students. Refs similarly find a sense of fun during games. “The funniest part of my job is watching students try to run on the ice. Some of them are amazingly well-balanced, but others take some pretty funny falls. Sometimes it can be hard not to laugh when a player falls down,” broomball ref Dylan White said.             While an emphasis on having fun is a typical component, these games are not void of heated competitions. Intramural sports games can regularly include protests and heated arguments. “I have witnessed quite a few intense arguments and a small fight.” ref Cyrus Carey said. “A lot of kids get really heated up in the moment and say things that they don’t really mean.  I try to take these comments with a grain of salt and always try to remind them, that this is intramural sports and they are supposed to be having fun,”             Being a ref to peers can sometimes include additional pressures. “Sometimes it is difficult for people playing to put themselves in the shoes of the referee who is a student just like them, and is doing the best job they can,” he said.             Being an intramural ref is a viable job offered by campus recreation for those interested in sporting competitions and getting on their feet for work. “The job isn’t a huge time commitment,” White said. “At the beginning of the year there are a couple of training days, but throughout the semester you work a couple of nights a week, totaling about five to eight hours.”             For students wishing to be active  – whether it is for play with friends or work – should seriously consider the many options offered through intramural sports.