Intramural sports: Big difference, similar impact
by Johnny Kraft–
While intramural sports differ from official collegiate sports, they have a similar impact on the Virginia Tech community. Sports are an important aspect of the college experience at Virginia Tech, but many do not realize that also includes intramurals.
The intramural sports program at Virginia Tech serves over 8,500 students, faculty and staff every year, according to Intramural Sports Coordinator, Jeff Feldhaus. The program offers over 40 activities throughout the year including flag football, soccer and basketball as well as non-traditional sports such as inner tube water polo and battleship.
The biggest difference between intramural sports and varsity sports is that it is not about wins and losses. It is an inclusive, social experience emphasizing having fun, sportsmanship and making new friends by playing your favorite sports regardless of skill level.
“Intramural sports differ from varsity athletics in that our mission is to provide recreational opportunities for participants of all skill levels,” said Feldhaus. “We strive to get people engaged in exercise and sport-related activities that promote teamwork, leadership and build healthy lifestyles.”
Each year, teams and organizations join in the quest for the Hokie Grail, awarded annually to the All-University Intramural Champion based on a point system. It gives certain groups such as fraternities and sororities a chance to compete and earn points by participating in intramural activities over the course of the entire year, according to Feldhaus. In short, a group earns points by participating, displaying good sportsmanship, etc. and their points are tallied throughout the year so an overall champion can be determined similar to the Olympic medal count.
According to the Department of Recreational Sports, intramural sports enhances the quality of life for the university community by educating and encouraging participation in activities that promote healthy lifestyles, social interactions and leadership skills.
Intramural sports are a big reason why Virginia Tech has been named no. 1 fittest college, no. 1 best quality of life and no. 1 in their students love these colleges by The Princeton Review. According to Feldhaus, a survey from a few years ago, in which alumni were polled, showed that intramurals were one of their top three favorite things about going to school at Virginia Tech, behind only academics and athletic events.
In addition, the intramural and recreational sports programs at Virginia Tech take pride in serving the community in the spirit of Ut Prosim. Every year, student employees volunteer for a number of activities that serve the campus and local communities including Hokie Helpers and the Southwest Virginia Special Olympics Basketball Tournament.
These programs hope to continue to grow and serve the Virginia Tech community as an atmosphere that encourages individuals to develop life-long involvement in recreational activities and are dedicated to meeting the changing needs of a diverse community by offering quality structured and informal recreational opportunities.
“One of our goals for the intramural program is to increase the number of people we serve until we hit the 10,000-member mark,” said Feldhaus. “Additionally, many of our recreational sports programs will continue to pursue avenues for promoting health and wellness, not only on campus but in the local community.”