Once the varsity seasons have gotten started and club sports are underway, the next level of athletics, intramural (IM) sports, begins. These are as competitive as the teams decide to make them and provide an excellent way to have fun, get some exercise and as an added advantage, allow freshmen to meet people with similar athletic interests. The year is split into three sessions, with a total of five sports offered: soccer, basketball, volleyball, softball and tennis.
All IM sports have student referees who do their best to ensure a fair game. Also, due to a large number of former high school players and general athletes, the play tends to be good. In every sport, at least a few competitive teams form, creating a challenge for everyone and preventing one group from dominating. This is true even in the less popular sports, limiting the number of forfeits and allowing a similar number of games in every activity.
At the very least, intramurals allow students to take a break from the work required by the College, and the seasons last through the end of classes. However, more importantly, intramurals are the best way to continue competing without the commitment required at the varsity or club level. There are no mandatory practices, though some teams choose to practice at their own discretion, and games take at most a few hours spread out over the course of the week.
Over these first few weeks and months, you will be meeting friends in many different ways-IM sports give one more. So for freshmen (and for upperclassmen), take advantage of the opportunity to have some fun-get a group together and form a team for the new season of IM sports.
Eric Schulman ’08
Keep up the support for athletic events
Last year, the athletic teams received tremendous support from the students, faculty and staff. Over 5,300 people made their way to Pratt Field each Saturday last fall to support the Amherst football team. Prior to the football game against Williams College, 11,000 fans congregated in the bleachers and behind the end zones, present to cheer on their school. Many students also delayed their spring breaks to cram into LeFrak to watch the men’s basketball team participate in the national Div. III playoffs. On April 16, hundreds of fans watched as the women’s lacrosse team defeated Wesleyan 12-11 en route to a 16-3 season and a Little Three Championship. Members of the Amherst community were present at virtually all athletic events for support and encouragement.
The presence of supporters, especially of fellow classmates, makes a tremendous mental impact on athletes in competition. Although players are trained to disconnect themselves from everything exterior to their own responsibilities and actions, they are not blind to the world around them.
Amherst is small enough that we can become a true community, where the support of individuals can have a direct effect on others. We also have a school with a rich academic and athletic history. The freshmen should feel welcome to become a part of our community and to help continue our great traditions. The freshmen, as in past years, are inundated with responsibilities and activities and are still adjusting to college life. Even so, I hope that each member of the class of 2009 will take time to support their classmates and friends and become as involved as possible in the intertwined academic, athletic and social scenes within our school.
David Pechman ’08