Intramurals overflowing for the fall season
In a small office space inside the Dalplex, there is a bustling group of sports enthusiasts. As two administrators lament a student who has dropped out, they are excitedly discussing the team member who can now be offered a spot. Campus recreation co-ordinator Andrew Harding is in one of these busy offices. “Sorry I’m late,” he says, despite the fact that he is on time. “There’s a lot on the go right now.”
A total of 24 recreational and competitive soccer teams remain wait-listed, along with 19 other teams across various sports. At an average of 10 students per team, that’s easily 400 spaces beyond capacity.
Harding organizes intramural sports at Dalhousie, which includes thirty-two leagues, eight mini-leagues and four tournaments. “It’s the busiest time of the year right now, with registrations happening and everything,” he says.
Ultimate Frisbee and soccer are the popular sports this semester, warranting the addition of extra teams. It’s Harding’s job to schedule the time and place for groups to play. “It’s hard to say what the capacity is. That depends on when people can play,” says Harding. “There is a prime time that everyone is trying to get space for.” Andrew is busy finding space for what averages out to be over 2,500 participants a year.
Third-year civil engineering student Suvir Pursnani wanted to join a soccer league with his friends. He did the legwork, organizing his friends into a team, only to be turned down when registering. “The guy said that it was full and there’s no room. We were put on a waiting list after another team. It kind of sucks they can’t fit in just two more teams.”
“All of my soccer dreams, crushed,” Pursnani says with a laugh.
Harding, having added several soccer teams already, simply couldn’t accommodate the rest.
“We were able to add six co-ed recreational soccer teams into a new two-hour time slot on Sunday nights, and we were unable to add any extra teams compared to last year for Ultimate Frisbee.”
Harding stresses that it’s important to get signed up early to get in. Pursnani’s team, for example, is second of 10 on his particular soccer waiting list. “It’s not for sure yet, but I’m looking at getting some drop-in games started up— if I can find a time that works for people.”
Pursnani has already done his scheduling for this season. “I’m in engineering. It’s a lot of work. I rearranged my schedule to make this time, you know, so I’d have game days free.
“It was all a waste.”
Pursnani wasn’t pleased about the position that put him in. “I did all the recruiting, convincing people to play, and now they’re asking me, ‘What’s up?’ It wasn’t fun telling them they didn’t have a team. Hopefully we can get in next time.”
Harding believes that intramural sports offer a social outlet on top of fitness. “For students who haven’t made a lot of connections, a common interest and activity is great for making friends. On top of that, sometimes students play a sport but don’t have time for a varsity team, or maybe they just want to try European handball because their high school never offered it.”
“I’m concentrating on the next round of sports right now,” Harding says. “I want to find more spaces we can use, and more dates teams can play so everyone can get in.” Andrew adds that a student who couldn’t get a team included can still try to get in as a free agent. “Sometimes spaces on teams open up, and we can get a few more people in that way as well. We want as many people as possible having fun.”