Intramural sports are a great way for students to remain physically active without having to commit themselves to the packed schedule that comes along with a varsity team. Students often need an escape from the daily stresses of tests and assignments and the athletic department at UTM offers this to students through their intramural program.

Dennis Fernandes, a grad student doing his Ph.D. at UTM, praises the intramural program the athletic department has put into place. “I feel that the intramural program here at UTM is really great. It creates a sense of community and it gives us time to get away from the stressful life of studying and grades and the things that come with that.” This is Fernandes’s first year playing intramural ball hockey—a sport he used to play as a kid that is now brought back to him through the intramural program.

For those students who can’t commit to being part of a varsity or d-league team or those students who don’t enjoy going to the gym but still want to be physically active, intramural sports are the best way to feel that sense of team community while also exercising. Nima Gharibi, a second-year student doing his Masters in Chemistry, began playing intramural ball hockey in the first year of his masters. “As a grad student, or even undergrad, you don’t have much free time and getting some activity in without the commitment of a varsity league, it’s pretty important.” He continues, “Getting your heart rate up [and] clearing your mind is very good for the mental wellbeing.”

With over ten different intramural sport leagues ranging from open ball hockey to coed dodgeball, there’s bound to be something for everyone. These are run during the fall and winter semesters, but UTM recently added leagues back into the spring and summer semesters.

Cameron Walker, Program Coordinator for Recreational Sport, states that the athletic department has “re-launched [their] summer offerings this past summer with four tournaments (3v3 basketball, Indoor Cricket, 2v2 Soccer, Dodgeball) and two leagues (Beach Volleyball and Ultimate Frisbee).” He continues, “We are excited to expand the offerings in summer 2019 based on student feedback and interest. Students are always encouraged to contact our office with their new ideas and suggestions.”

Walker also commends intramurals on having two main benefits. First are the benefits that intramurals provide for overall health and wellness. “Sports are a great opportunity for students to engage in exercise as part of their healthy lifestyle habits and intramurals can be a less intimidating way of engaging in sport,” says Walker. “The competition is less intense, and participants are encouraged to try new and different activities that they may not have tried before, thus increasing their overall physical capacity.”

The second benefit that Walker believes intramurals provide is the social aspect of sports. “Engaging in sport creates and strengthens social bonds with teammates which can lead to a stronger social network and a more engaged overall campus community.” Walker also states that the athletic department believes “healthy students are successful students” and one of their overall goals is “to build a healthy and engaged campus.”

The best and most intriguing aspect of intramural sports is the lack of commitment that is required of students who are already busy enough with school work or part-time jobs. Colin Yuen, a third-year student at UTM, began playing intramural soccer in the first semester of his first year. He explains that the commitment level is not high at all. “It’s just once a week [for] one hour and then you can like shower at school and everything so, it’s really good,” Yuen says.

Another third-year intramural soccer athlete, Sammy Toor, says that intramurals are really important. “It helps people be active [and] it gives some people something to do outside of school.”

All in all, it is safe to say that UTM has set up a successful intramural sports program that allows students to escape the stresses of school while also being active. For those students who are looking for a low commitment sport that can be played alongside friends, intramural sports are the leagues for you.