Students gathered on an open field and divided into two teams. Though they attend the same university, they are opponents.
Unlike most university sports, these team members are part of intramural sports. The Southern Miss Recreational Sports Program offers students, as well as faculty and staff, the chance to play sports. They have over 40 activities in which university members can participate.
New seasons of cornhole, dodgeball and flag football begin Monday, Oct. 26. Joshua Brunson, a senior sports management major, works as an intramural supervisor and believes participating in intramural sports has a positive impact on students.
“University students often experience stress, which can have negative academic, emotional and health outcomes,” Brunson said. “They face multiple stressors such as academic overload, constant pressure to succeed, competition with peers and concerns about the future.”
Students taking time out of their schedules for practices or games prove to benefit the players in many ways. Graham Lowing plays cornhole on the days he does not work as an intramural supervisor. He began playing as a way to connect even more with his friends.
“It’s a good way to have fun with friends and get away from the stress of school,” Lowing said.
Intramural sports is a way for students who are athletic to stick with sports even though they may no longer play for a school. This is true for Carter Kittrell, a senior recreation administration major.
“I decided to play intramurals because of my love for competition and sports,” Kittrell said. “I choose to play flag football because I used to play football in high school and always enjoyed it and wanted to keep playing the basics of the sport with a new twist.”
But this is not always the case.
Intramural sports are suitable even for people with no athletic experience. With the vast variety of activities offered, students should be able to find something that suits them.
“Intramural sports are not just for athletes,” Brunson said. “Intramurals are for anyone
who is trying to have fun, meet new friends, get away from their problems and get a good exercise.”
Staying physically fit is a struggle for many college students. Many often complain about not having the time or energy to workout regularly. Some students have found that playing an intramural sport gives them a chance to work out in a fun way. They also find that these sports are a great way to socialize and connect with other students.
“You get to meet multiple people on campus in a fun a friendly way,” Kittrell said. “You can all talk about a game that you played and that leads to more conversations to come and more of a chance to learn about my peers.”
From both sides as a supervisor and a player, Lowing attests to all the benefits that playing an intramural sport has to offer.
“It’s a good camaraderie builder,” Lowing said. “Most of the teams that play, they’ve played numerous sports together. But sometimes you’ll see that team consisting of players who barely know each other but share a common interest in sports and develop friendships.”
Whether students seek ways to increase their social life or new exciting ways to improve their health, many students find that intramural sports are a great way to make their college experience even better.