Unconventional sports gain popularity with Berry intramurals

Jayne Claire Vincent, Campus Carrier assistant sports editor

Throughout the past semester Berry Recreation has held several unconventional tournaments. While intramural (IM) sports have been present on campus for many years, cornhole, spike ball and pickleball are recent additions to the IM roster. 
Cornhole is the most recent addition to IM sports on campus with the first tournament held on Nov. 5. The cornhole tournament champions, juniors Hunter Whitaker and Prem Patel thought it would be something fun and different to participate in. 

“I have played cornhole a few times at home,” Whitaker said. “It’s a pastime for me and a cool activity that I thought would be fun”. 

Whitaker has participated in several IM tournaments over the years including softball and sand volleyball. He believes that IMs are important since they allow more people to be involved on campus.
“They help create cohesion with students and get people in the campus community active,” Whitaker said. 

Since this year was the first IM cornhole tournament, there were only eight teams that participated. With some changes in mind, the Recreation Department is hopeful that there will be a bigger turnout next semester. 

Pickleball, another unconventional sport, has become both a fall and spring sport in the past few years due to its popularity on campus. 

The first Berry IM pickleball tournament was held in 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic. At a time when the Recreation Department was trying to find activities that would be safe for students to participate in, the pickleball tournament drew in many teams, because it was a way that students could interact with friends in a safe setting. 

Since 2020, IM pickleball has grown to become popular. The most recent pickleball tournament, held in October, was one of the biggest tournaments this semester consisting of a total of 20 competing teams. 

“Aside from three-on-three basketball, pickleball was the largest IM tournament this fall,” said IM supervisor, sophomore Austin McMahan. 

From 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. the teams played in a double elimination tournament to determine who the champions would be. ­­ Essentially, in double elimination competitions teams who lose two times are disqualified from the tournament.  Providing a coffee truck and snacks helped the tournament in October attracted a crowd. 

Another unconventional sport, spike ball, has been around for several years on campus. This semester the Recreation Department decided to schedule an IM spike ball tournament for Nov. 19. However, due to the tournament being on the same day as semi-formal and the fact that only one team registered, the tournament was cancelled. 

This upcoming spring semester, it is possible that alternative sport tournaments will look a little different than years past. 

Instead of having multiple weekends a semester, each one dedicated to one alternative sport, the Recreation Department is thinking about hosting a weekend solely devoted to yard games.  

Student Involvement and Intramural Coordinator, Scott Lively, has been brainstorming with the Director of Recreation, Victor Morales, and his IM supervisors to come up with some ideas.   

“We are tossing up the idea of an all-encompassing yard games tournament,” Lively said. “It would be similar to the Mountain Day Olympics but with yard games such as can jam, cornhole, spike ball and ladder ball.”

For the yard games tournament, there would be a point system set in so that each team would earn a certain number of points depending on how well they did in one sport. Then once all the games have been completed, the team with most points would be declared the tournament champions.  

While the yard games tournament is just one thing to look forward to for next semester, there are many other IM sports scheduled for next semester that are worth noting. 

As of now, five-on-five basketball, indoor soccer, softball, ultimate frisbee and volleyball are some of the IM sports that are on the spring calendar. There will also be another pickleball tournament that will be held on April 15. 

Another new IM sport that will be introduced in the spring is an E-sports tournament where participants will either be playing Madden, FIFA or Super Smash Bros. 

McMahan has been able to witness how the healthy competition of IM sports allow students to be involved while contributing to help with having a good work and play balance. 

“IMs are an escape that we can provide,” McMahan said. “They are an escape from classes, studying and other responsibilities and stressors”. 

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