Hunting for the elusive intramural T-shirts
Students at Washington University have received many “free” T-shirts in their time here.
Some, like the Red Alert T-shirt, only require an e-mail address. Others are given by residential colleges at move-in or at various student events. Only one shirt provides bragging rights. Only one shirt can be earned through sweat, effort and mental agility. That shirt is the “Intramural Champion” shirt.
Two years ago, they were gray. Last year, they were forest green. This year, IM champions will wear navy blue.
In the 2008-2009 school year, intramural sports had more than 6,000 participants, including undergraduates, graduates and those who play multiple sports. Regardless of the sport or activity, all champions receive the same shirt.
Both single-gender and coed activities are available. Events range from the most strenuous, like flag football and basketball, to those that require more intellect, such as the sports trivia bowl and euchre. While many traditional sports are available, inner-tube water polo and other nontraditional activities can be fun changes of pace.
According to senior Tim Olivos, a participant and IM official, basketball and football are the most popular sports.
Students interested in IM sports don’t necessarily need to compete. According to Sean Curtis, director of intramural and club sports, more than 150 students work as sports officials keeping track of scores and regulating games. Those interested in officiating can go to the Intramural Office.
Olivos finds officiating a good way of making money while having fun and getting involved.
Officiating can be tough depending on the intensity of the game. “You have to be on top of your game,” Olivos said. “[You’re] trying to make sure everyone is having a good time.”
Officials receive training with meetings to go over the rules and practice games that they officiate. “It’s not too bad, and you get paid,” Olivos said.
Although most sports are on campus, a few require facilities in the St. Louis area. Students can bowl and get a score sheet printout for IM bowling. Golfers can bring in their scorecards and take advantage of special rates with local golf courses.
The time commitment varies depending on the level of competitiveness. “It runs the entire scope of competition, from completely recreational to actually highly competitive where they have practices and they are trying to definitely win the league,” Curtis said.
Most leagues have games once a week, with each game lasting up to an hour. While the majority of teams show up just for games, several hold weekly practices.
For teams comprised of fraternity, sorority, or residential college students, there’s added competition. Last year, Wayman Crow won the Res College Point League with 368 points. Kappa Kappa Gamma edged out Delta Gamma by 10 points in the sorority league. The reigning fraternity champion is Sigma Phi Epsilon, beating out Phi Delta Theta by 7 points.
Senior Fan Ye, a participant in flag football and basketball, gave several reasons why people play IM sports.
“IM sports are fun because you get to compete with other people and friends,” Ye said. “People of all different levels can enjoy playing team sports.”
Though playing to win is nice, Ye said his primary goal is “getting to bond.”
For some participants, an intramural championship shirt is the pinnacle of their athletic careers. Curtis has had some seniors come up and say, “It took me three and a half years, but I finally got it.”
The first deadlines are fast approaching with coed Ultimate Frisbee and kickball on Sept. 3. Entry forms can be picked up at the IM Office on the third floor of the Athletic Complex. The hunt for the navy blue IM championship shirt and all bragging rights begins this September.