This week signifies, not only the start to a new year of classes, but also a new year of intramural athletics. My first two years of collegiate intramurals have been marred with minor strains, minimal success, moderate heartbreak, and much questioning of the legitimacy of my dwindling skills.
But I have learned many things in my first two years of intramurals, about myself as well as the sporting life. Now I would like to impart some of that wisdom onto this year’s freshman.
This isn’t high school anymore; you don’t have the luxury of joining a team and being physically active every day. In college you have to make time to get exercise, and intramurals are a good place to start so take advantage of the opportunity. Even if it is once a week, you get the chance to work off some of the Toppers and beer you consumed over the weekend, or Tuesday night.
Speaking of beer, the only intramural game you should show up to intoxicated is bags. There’s limited movement, little chance for injury, and because the game was basically born and raised outside of stadiums during tailgates it almost goes hand in hand.
Never show up drunk for a basketball game. Believe me, the idea has been researched by plenty of people before you, and will most likely continue to be experimented with. But save yourself the headache and possible puke session, and don’t do it. However, coming into a game buzzed is a different story.
Seriously, keep stretching. Don’t jack up your hamstring or throw out your arm for an hour of exertion that won’t count for much in the long run. How are you supposed to run from a cop, not saying you should, if you blew out your Achilles playing tennis? You don’t need to do P90 X for 10 minutes, just get your legs warm, your body will thank you.
Don’t be a douche. Pimping every single you get in softball, holding your hand up after you clang your twentieth three pointer off the backboard, and getting in a quarterback’s grill after you yank his flag a yard behind the line doesn’t make you tough. It makes people hate you and wish awful things upon you. Talking some trash and being a little cocky are fine, even part of the game. But if you make an ass of yourself, just take your ball and go home.
Don’t run up the score. Not everyone who plays intramurals is an all star. Some of them maybe haven’t even played the game they’re playing. Not everyone was voted second team all-conference, and most improved your senior year like you were. This is a lesson that you should have learned in middle school; if you’re bulldozing a team back off a little bit at the end. This ties in with the above guideline.
Encourage your teammates. Because everyone on your team might not be what people would call “good” at stuff, they may need an extra pick me up. Instead of screaming at your compadre after he misses a fast break layup, give him a firm, yet comforting pat on the fanny and tell him to “Go get em’ next time.” You’re not playing for the state championship. You’re not really playing for anything except for the fun of it. Speaking of that…
Have fun. Yes, I just went old school tee ball coach on you. If you’re not having fun then you’re just wasting valuable…study time. So do yourself a favor and play something you like or give up the spot to someone else.
Intramural athletics is a unique blend of athletic ability and an “A for effort” mentality, but they’re very easy to enjoy. If you follow the guidelines that I have laid before you this season should be as competitive and successful as any other. You can even sign up without putting your beer down, so why not right?