14 September 2012: Montclair State University’s Campus Recreation Center along with Its Intramural Sports group held their 3rd annual “Kickoff” today: an outside event held in order to promote their upcoming Fall intramural sports leagues, while simultaneously providing a place for like-minded students to come together and socialize.
Students had the opportunity to sample the sports that will be featured this Fall, which included volleyball, extreme dodge ball, soccer, and corn hole; there was also free food, raffles for prizes—such as an Xbox 360 with a copy of the video game “Madden 2013”—and a disk jockey playing songs such as the “Fresh Prince of Bel Air” theme featuring Will Smith at a decibel which left me partially deaf for the next 12 hours. Coupled with the magnificent weather Montclair had yesterday, the result was a scene wrought with the activity of curious bystanders and active participants; it proved to be a triumphant return after losing some of their possible participants last year to the grand opening ceremony of The Heights: the newest residence halls constructed at Montclair State University.
The Fall 2012 intramural season at the Recreation Center features several sports during the semester, including: "sprint" football (flag football), dodge ball, street hockey, volleyball, table tennis, handball, racquetball, and outdoor soccer. There are several weekend tournaments--most of which are free--that the Recreation Center hosts as well, such as corn hole, street hockey, wiffle ball and basketball (basketball requires a small fee).
During last year’s Fall semester, changes were made in scheduling intramural sports after a few discrepancies were noted from prior seasons. Matt Vecchi, Area Supervisor of Intramural Sport, explained the situation: "We used to schedule intramural sports only during the weekends, but people were not participating as much. I remember my Sophmore year sitting around an empty table during the weekends for some sports." Vecchi then continued, "Last year we changed the schedule so that all intramural sports were going on during the week.” According to Vecchi, the change in scheduling undoubtedly resulted in a higher number of participants. There was more work to be done, however.
Which brings us to this year. The Recreation Center took a new approach to their intramural seasons by utilizing “IM Leagues”, enabling staff to track statistics, organize teams, set up sports leagues, schedule games send mass notifications, etc. Students now have the ability to create their own intramural sport profiles and teams and track their individual and group statistics cumulatively; think of it as “The Facebook” version for intramural club sports leagues.
Since the Recreation Center’s inauguration to Montclair State in March 2008, intramural sports have played a significant role in their overarching mission statement, which is to expose students to a positive and productive college lifestyle. Unfortunately, the positive impact that intramural sports have on student life isn’t easily recognized (if at all) throughout both public and academic circles within the United States. In an article from the Journal of Student Affairs Research and Practice, entitled "The Social Benefits of Intramural Sports", Lori Artinger (et. all) conclude in a field study they conducted at Brock University with this notion: "While intramural sports are one of the most popular cocurricular activities for many students on college campuses, and one of the most beneficial social outlets for students, it is not publicly recognized as such." Despite the oversight on the positive effects intramural sports have for students outside of the University’s walls, participation from students in extra curricular activities has continually increased at Montclair State University's Campus Recreation Center since it has been established: a positive sign for the future to come.
So, what are you waiting for? There is still plenty of time to register for most intramural sports events this fall! If you are a new student who doesn’t have a whole group of friends to form a sport group with, don’t worry: students can sign up as free agents and then be matched with existing teams. For more information, you can visit the Montclair State University Campus Recreation Center’s website at: www.montclair.edu/campusrec. You can also reach the Recreation Center’s front office at 973-655-3341 for more information as well.