When University of South Dakota freshman Alisha Roesler wants time away from the daily grind of classes and schoolwork, instead of looking to the TV remote or the friendly confines of a pillow, she looks to her softball mitt.
Roesler, just like hundreds of her fellow USD students, choose to subdue their urge to take a break from studies in a way that has been present on the USD campus for decades and is a cornerstone of university activities.
“It gets everyone out to meet other people and get a chance to exercise and go out,” Roesler said. “Even if you aren’t particularly good at a sport, you can still go out and have a great time, plus I think it does a good job of reinforcing positive attitudes and allows you to let loose and take your mind off of classes.”
USD currently offers intramural leagues and events in nearly 20 sports, all the way from basketball and football, to trap shoot and Ultimate Frisbee.
USD Wellness Center’s assistant director of activities Samantha Lowry, who is in her first year at USD, said the program aims to be a stress reliever for students, while building character.
“Our mission is to allow the students the opportunity to have a fun time during their time-off of classes,” Lowry said. “All while hitting on small aspects of moral such as teamwork, leadership and communication.”
While the goal of any game is to win, one aspect Lowry wished to implement in her inaugural year as program director was that of sportsmanship.
An aspect Lowry and her staff highlight through a points system in which teams receive a rating, one through five, that determines their eligibility for post-season tournaments.
“Each game teams are given a rating on their sportsmanship,” Lowry said. “At the end of the season the teams’ average scores are calculated and if a teams average is not above a 3.0 that team is not allowed into the playoffs. I don’t think it is fair to the staff or the other teams to reward disrespectful behavior on the court, regardless of their ability.”
Roesler, who is enrolled in both volleyball and softball leagues for the spring season, believes the current system benefits all players involved.
“(Intramurals) is definitely a lot more fun than anything else,” Roesler said. “It’s always nice to win but they do things so that in order to get to a tournament you need to have good sportsmanship, and I think that is a good thing, it keeps the atmosphere laid back and allows us to just have a good time.”
Junior Dan Bell is no stranger to intramural sports; Bell is in his third year of intramural play and has taken part in volleyball, football, dodge ball, softball and basketball.
“I like intramurals because it is a chance to get away,” Bell said. “It’s great to get together with friends and have fun and play sports. Even if your not in it to win, you still always find a way to have fun.”
Freshman Tiffany Schlotterbeck is captain of her co-ed softball team SWAT and noted the flexibility of the league allows for an increase in overall enjoyment.
“We are able to do what we want,” Schlotterbeck said. “I like the fact that it’s all in fun. It’s no competition whatsoever, there is no judgment, and it’s just a good time.”
While temperatures ascend into the mid-80s all around the Midwest region, spring fever has begun to spread to the students on the USD campus, ideal conditions for members of intramural teams.
Lowry explained that leagues lucked out on the weather this year, but it is not enough of a reason to keep any future changes from occurring.
“Bad weather definitely would affect spring intramurals,” Lowry said. “So this year’s weather has been amazing, especially for softball. Which is another reason there have been talks to switch up the seasons a little bit and move the majority of outdoor sports to the beginning of the fall season to avoid any weather related issues.”
Lowry went on to discuss the possibility of moving softball and other sports and events that could be altered by cold weather to the beginning of the 2012 school year, and exchanging them with football and other events that would go unaffected by lower temperatures.
Intramural events currently underway or scheduled in the next coming weeks include a 4-on-4 men’s flag football tournament, Home Run Derby, men’s and women’s golf scramble, softball, and tennis. Dodge ball and volleyball both wrap up their seasons on Thursday.
Students can log on to USD’s page on IMLeagues.com for more information on how to sign up for upcoming events.