Intramural sports lets students practice, gain experience without pressure

Intramural sports allow Guilford College students to unite under the same goal: to play as hard as they can and have fun doing it. And who knows? You might just reap some unexpected rewards.

Take senior defender Jovanni Catalan for example.

Catalan played intramural soccer for three years before he made the varsity men’s soccer team.

“The guys knew him and said I should put him on the field, and I’d seen him play,” said head men’s soccer coach Jeff Bateson. “He has great work ethic. He always kept playing … and got better by playing in leagues and intramural sports.”

Even if you are not shooting for the big leagues, intramural sports might just be for you. Experience, gender, year, major: none of it matters.

“It’s a program that the whole student body can get involved with,” said senior and Assistant Director of Intramural Sports Ryan Phillips. “Some people have been playing their entire lives, and others have never played before.”

Anyone can experience the benefits intramural sports offers.

“It gives students a way to work in teams and have fun while getting a chance to exercise,” said Assistant Director for Student Leadership and Engagement Emily Lott. “We really focus on the learning aspect and having fun.”

If you are intimidated by the time commitment, do not be. Games are only once a week.

Practice? We talking about practice. Individual teams may decide to have practices, but they are not a requirement.

What about the competition? Intramurals are not like club sports that compete against other schools. You never have to leave your stomping ground.

Do not let fear hold you back. You may evolve from some of the new experiences intramural sports could offer.

“I went in expecting to play a position I used to, like striker or an offensive position, and I wound up playing goalie,” said first-year intramural soccer player Simon McLane. “I definitely grew from the experience, though. It was kind of frustrating at first­ (while) learning — but then I really came to enjoy it.”

Soccer and flag football are coming to a wrap as winter approaches. Look forward to spring when students hit the court for volleyball and basketball.

Basketball has the highest participation of all the sports offered, but not so much among the ladies.

“They don’t usually have a lot of girls on the team, so they asked me to participate,” said sophomore Cassie Vaughn. “Also, I’ve always been interested in playing but never had the chance to. With intramural sports, you can do something you wanted to do in high school or in life but never could, and still be competitive but not intense.”

Sports, friends and easygoing fun: what more could you ask for? All you need is two things to get in the game: an insurance waiver and a copy of your insurance card.