At UVic, all times are good times, but intramurals provide especially fond memories. Being a lover of all sports, intramurals hold an important place in my weekly routine, particularly at the end of every semester: intramurals have to wrap up, and that signals playoff time!
Now I wish I could write all about the sweeter side of playoffs, such as winning a division, or even a game . . . yes, that’s right, one single game. In two years of intramural volleyball, and one semester of soccer, I have yet to win a single playoff game. Sad, maybe, but I want to share some insight on how to make intramurals a positive experience, winning aside.
First of all, our team Benny and the Jets comprised my friends from first-year residence. No longer living together, seeing these friends is surprisingly difficult. I can no longer walk up a flight of stairs and knock on a door; I have to trek across town, or find time on campus (neither are as simple as they seem). Intramurals provide a space for us to come together, compete and play something we all enjoy, acting as a much needed social gathering mid-week that would otherwise be difficult to organize.
Second, intramurals are a great break during the week, a day, or even a tough study session. For example, the Jets and I played every Thursday night. I looked forward to this day every week as a de-stressor. I enjoy going to the gym, but pushing weights around keeps that next assignment from consuming your thoughts. Intramurals demand all your attention, with teammates, opponents, and strategy letting the thought of deadlines evaporate for an hour and a half, leaving you to focus on having some damn fun — and it’s perfectly guilt-free. No matter how busy you are, you don’t want to let the team down, so you HAVE to come through for your teammates. That kind of mentality translates to other parts of student life, too, like the dreaded group project.
Third, it’s extra physical activity. And it’s not just healthy physically, but mentally, too. I used to downhill ski with the Banff Alpine Racers and the Alberta Ski Team, and competed across the globe. To pursue academics, I had to hang up the skis, and retire from the slopes. While I know I will never compete at such a high level again, intramurals fill that competitive void. We may not win often, but playing keeps you on your toes, and though the hunger to win never eases, it’s manageable.
The last time Benny and the Jets attempted a playoff, we started at 7 p.m., and were ready to play until much later, assuming we kept winning. We got absolutely spanked in our first game which sent us packing: our whole season concluded in 20 minutes. Although we were disappointed in our efforts, we never felt a loss. True loss is never felt in such an environment because at the end of the day, we’re winning in other ways. We build personal relationships, get away from the books for a couple hours, and get a nice sweat on in our busy school schedules. I know there was nothing here that will help y’all win games, but I hope this encourages some to come out and play for other reasons. Isn’t that what it’s all about? Just having fun?