The people’s champion: The magical world of intramural sport

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By Charlotte Carver, Match Day Reporter

For some people, the intensity and commitment of university sport just isn’t their cup of tea and they would prefer a more casual sporting experience.

This is where intramural leagues come in. They offer the chance to participate in a range of sports and form friendships in a relaxed environment, without having to worry about trials or preseason fitness.

Football, Hockey, Rugby, Netball, and Rounders are just some of the sports on offer if you are looking to take a slightly more laid-back approach.

One of the most appealing factors with intramural is that you are not expected to be the finished product of project Mbappé to participate. The intramural teams are all mixed ability, with a variety of leagues within each sport.

It is also so easy to join a team. If you are in halls of residence, your halls or student village will have teams set-up ready to join.

You can also opt to join your course or society’s team if you would rather meet people that are not necessarily first years. For example, History Society have an intramural football team called ‘Past and Move’.

Have a group of football fanatic friends? Or is there a group of you crazy for cricket? Intramural sport also allows you to create and enter your own team into one of the many leagues on offer.

For some, being part of an intramural team is a pivotal part of their university experience. Caitee Midgley joined Centaur Netball as a first year ‘for the social aspect but also as a way to keep fit in an enjoyable way’. Weekly training and matches on the weekend provide her with a fun bit of competition, but in a very relaxed atmosphere.

Caitee states that one of the greatest benefits of joining her society’s Netball team is that she is ‘able to get to know girls from other years of the Vet school’ whilst also ‘making friends with people I might not have met otherwise’.

Will Shanks is a member of Bristol Engineering Maths Society’s football team. When asked why he would recommend being a part of an intramural team he replied, ‘it’s a great way to play a sport casually without having the commitment and pressure of a university team.’

These unprecedented times have led to most of us having very few on-campus contact hours. As a result, it is easy to spend less time with peers, and more time inside our own homes.

Joining an intramural team offers the chance to leave the four walls of your bedroom, give your weary eyes a rest and once again feel like part of the student community.

Intramural sport is flexible and seamlessly fits around your studies or social life.

Moreover, with coronavirus halting the BUCS leagues until January, intramural leagues are (so far) expected to continue in some shape or form. With fixtures hopefully taking place, intramural, often seen as a bit less structured, can now provide students with a more structured routine in a difficult period for everyone.

The list of benefits seems endless when writing this as, in addition to everything already mentioned, intramural sport is flexible and seamlessly fits around your studies or social life.

Epigram’s very own Eddie McAteer is a member of the intramural masses for this very reason. Having played rugby for a long time, he wished to continue playing but was not sure about joining the University team. Instead, he discovered Clifton Crusaders, a team originally for students from the Clifton accommodations but now open to anyone.

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With commitments such as Epigram and university work, playing for Crusaders ‘gives me the opportunity to get some exercise with a good group of lads whilst balancing the workload of studying and writing and editing for the paper.’

One aspect of intramural that is far from the same is the socials. For obvious reasons, there is limited scope as to what teams can do so they are having to get creative with zoom socials or socially-distanced socials. This, however, is a story for another page, quite literally.

Socially distanced socials keeping sports teams sweet

As you can see, intramural sport has plenty of things working in its favour and has been a welcome home for many a student. Now, though, intramural plays an even more important role than before by providing a much-needed break from the difficult circumstances we are currently in.

Featured image: Clifton Crusaders

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