As the Spring 2013 semester comes to a close at Montclair State University, Campus Recreation continues to promote events and tournaments regarding its Club and Intramural Sports department. The main goal of Campus Recreation and its programs—since its inception—has been to create an inclusive environment where students can feel comfortable enough to become involved and participate in various sports events. This, in turn, should allow a healthier mentality regarding college life for those participating, and create a community of individuals that understand the impact that positive experiences and sociability bring to student life at Montclair. But is this the case for those that are currently involved?
In order to find this particular question out, it was imperative to go around and ask some of those involved with Intramural and Club Sports exactly what their experiences have been, and what opinions they share regarding the effects such programs have on the student body. Luke Muller, Junior and Intramural Sports Director, has had experiences participating as both a student and an employee for Campus Recreation: “Before becoming an official for Campus Recreation, I played soccer, football and dodgeball in the leagues. For me, it was just great being in an environment where you can meet other students while being active.” As an official and employee for Intramural Sports currently, Mr. Muller’s original opinion has only been strengthened regarding the effects of the program: “As an official, it is the same thing. When I’m working, I’m still meeting and building relationships with new people. I still create lasting friendships. As a Physical Education Major, I can take all of the skills that I have developed here and use them to mold my teaching approach once I have a career.” Ryan Hardin, Senior and also a Director for Intramural Sports, also thought that his experiences as an official are helping him build better skills for the future, “I want to further my education by getting my MA in Counseling. I think that my experience as an intramural official has helped me be able to handle pretty much any type of personality, which in turn will help me later on have patience when dealing with difficult people in the workplace.”
If students are interested in finding that competitiveness that they once had during their high school years, Club Sports offers great opportunities for those that are looking for more than just a casual sporting experience. The result from this dedication is organized, tight-knit communities that develop amongst those that put effort into facilitating the various club sports that are offered, which range from men’s baseball to table tennis. Julie Kreger, Graduate Student and Advisor for Club Sports at Campus Recreation, had a lot of positive things to say regarding Club Sports and its effect on the student body: “I’ve been working here since August of 2012, and honestly I’ve really enjoyed the experience so far. I’d say the most rewarding thing is to see how clubs that just start up from scratch eventually grow into something spectacular.” Ms. Kreger continued, “Some of the more established clubs like baseball or the men’s and women’s volleyball were already polished clubs by the time I arrived. That provided a lot of great insight for me as to what examples should be set for the newer clubs starting up.” Joe Cahill, Sophomore and coach for the men’s club baseball team, had this to say regarding his experiences with Club Sports so far, “It has been a privilege to work with teams, focus on building communities, and help them develop into something bigger than any one individual. It really is a sight to be seen.”
This spring marked the first time that Club Sports collaborated with the Special Olympics-endorsed Unified Sports program, which aims to bring college students into interaction with athletes from the Special Olympics program in order to dispel the myths surrounding people with disabilities. Ms. Kreger thought that experience to be especially rewarding, “The Unified Sports program was very rewarding because it provided a lot of insight and experience into my field of study [MA in Counseling]. The experience was great for all of those involved!”
Both Intramural and Club Sports have been especially active this year, and behind the scenes of all the programs that are managed stands Carolyn Garrone, Coordinator of Intramural and Club Sports. As part of the professional staff at Campus Recreation, she still has just as much pep as the students whom she supervises. She attributes this energy to her own involvement with intramural sport activities in the past, especially during her time at Montclair State as an undergrad, “Since I was a freshmen at the University, I participated in a whole bunch of intramural events. I participated so much, that afterward when I went to Indiana University, I continued to participate in various events offered through their intramural programs as well.”
When asked what students get out of participating in leagues held by both Club and Intramural Sports, Ms. Garrone opined, “From what I’ve seen, it depends on the participants. Some people are doing it for the competition, and miss that involvement with a team, [like] a varsity high school team. Other people are doing it for social reasons. They want to meet people and have fun.” Regardless of the reasoning for participation, it seems that we’ve finally arrived at some answers regarding the question posed at the beginning, all of which indicate that there is an overwhelming positive vibe that permeates to those that participate—both students and employees alike—in an intramural or club sports. As a writer for the Intramural and Club Sports office, it has undoubtedly been a pleasure to be able to involve myself daily with positive individuals such as the ones I mentioned, and those whom I haven’t mentioned. The positive experiences I took working in this department make it that much more poignant to see this school year come to a close.
New and exciting clubs are being developed for the upcoming year, including women’s ice hockey and men's lacrosse, both of which were just validated as a club this semester. Other possible club sports waiting approval for next year are men’s soccer and men’s lacrosse. If you are interested in finding out more regarding a club or an intramural sport, you may do so by visiting the Club and Intramural Sports website at http://www.montclair.edu/campus-recreation/intramural-club-sports/. You may also call the Intramural Sports office at 973-655-3345, or the Club Sports office at 973-655-3346.
By: Levon Syers