Timothy Belin, Campus Carrier sports editor
As intramural opportunities continue to be affected by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the Department of Recreation is finding new events to keep students involved in a safe way. Its latest offerings will include a track and field day, a kickball tournament and a basketball trick shot contest, as well as a partnership with the esports club for a Super Smash Bros tournament.
Junior Natalie Wegner, intramurals supervisor and teams manager, said these additions to the usual offerings are not only to abide by COVID-19 regulations, but some, such as the track and field day, are also meant to help intramurals cater to a wider audience.
“We thought we would include a little bit more of the general community and people outside that maybe don’t feel like they’re included as much with actual sports, where they have to have a ball or accuracy, so like to just run I feel like that’s more inclusive,” Wegner said.
With this mindset, Recreation reached out to the esports club as well to see if it would be interested in partnering for an event, according to Wegner.
“We again want to reach another side of the students that maybe aren’t into the physical sports but still want to be part of a community and enjoy that aspect of gaming,” Wegner said.
Senior Alex Brice, vice-president of the esports club, said its members were already planning a Super Smash Bros tournament, so the invitation was a perfect opportunity for them.
“Rec actually reached out to us and were like ‘hey, do you want to have an event for esports, considering that esports are kind of a sporting thing’ and we said sure,” Brice said. “We were planning on having one anyway, but then when rec reached out, we were like ‘yeah, let’s just do that event and then you guys can help us host it and stuff’ and they were willing to help with that.”
While this is the first time the tournament will be partnered with intramurals, it is not its first occurrence, which is why Brice said they chose to stick with a game they know to be popular.
“The past three years we’ve done Smash Bros tournaments and that’s always been very popular on campus,” Brice said. “Smash Bros is the one esports game that most people can get into without having to have any prior experience in games and stuff, and in the past years we’ve had 50+ people show up to these things and just compete and have fun and it’s always a fun time, so might as well continue it.”
The tournament will look a little bit different from other years, however, due to COVID-19. While the event is usually an opportunity for players and fans to hang out in the Sandbox as a community, with snacks and drinks provided, Brice said they would have to limit attendance at this year’s event so as not to surpass any occupancy restrictions.
The esports club hopes, however, to make up for this setback in two ways. First, while the bulk of the competition will take place on Saturday in the Sandbox, it hopes to host the finals the following day in the Cage Center, so that more audience members can attend. Additionally, its members also hope to stream some of the matchups and post highlights to YouTube after the event. They have asked anyone interested on commentating to let them know on the Google Doc signup sheet.
This Google Doc, the link to which has been sent out in several weekly student newsletters, is also the main way for students interested in competing to sign up. Registration will not be available through the usual intramural website, and while day-of signups will be possible, Brice said he encourages everyone to register in advance.
“We’re hoping to have the most people sign up through the registration form, just because it’s a lot easier and takes like two seconds,” Brice said. “But if for some reason they can’t do it we’re also opening up walk-in registration an hour before the tournament starts, but we’re closing it 10 minutes before the tournament obviously because we don’t want people coming in during the tournament and signing up.”
While this deviation from normal intramural registration methods is due to the event’s status as a collaboration, Wegner said it still counts as a fully-fledged intramural competition, with the winner getting an intramural champion’s t-shirt.
Wegner also said she wanted to remind participants of all intramural events that there is a grand champion at the end of the intramural season. This title is awarded to the team that competed in the most sports with the best results, and their team name gets added to a banner inside the MAC gym. For a team to win, keeping the same name throughout the academic year is therefore crucial.
“A lot of people don’t realize that, so we encourage people to come up with creative names and to re-use that name, so that they can have that marketed and to be kind of proud of it whenever they graduate,” Wegner said. “It kind of also initiates a little more of that competitive aspect, but in a really fun manner that’s not like ‘I’m better than you,’ just more of encourages people to show up to more sports.”
Several opportunities to win points for one’s team will be available in the other new events this year, as the track and field day and basketball trick short tournament will both feature multiple events.
Track and field will include a 100, 200, 400, 4×100 relay, 1600, high jump and long jump competition, and an individual champion will be crowned for each event, in addition to an overall champion for the team with the best average score from its members. While the events themselves will be gender-restricted, teams can be co-ed.
As for the trick shot tournament, it will feature a game of HORSE, knockout, a 3-pointer contest and a free-throw contest. These games will not be restricted by gender, and there will be no teams.
The next intramurals will be the esports tournament this weekend, followed by a disc-golf tournament and track and field day on Feb. 27. For more information and to sign up for events, students should visit imleagues.com.