Everyone’s a player

Justin Law

Over 2,200 USI students have become avid participants in the phenomenon known as Intramural sports.Flagfootball2

Intramurals are one of the most popular extracurricular activities at the University of Southern Indiana. A multitude of team sports are offered and students are given the option of playing on a league or participating in all-day events for a chance to compete in championships.
Jasmine Ussery, senior and member of the intramural basketball team “Evansville’s Finest” is one of many who have signed on and suited up to play.  
“I have known the girls on my team since junior high,” Ussery said. “We get along well and we always have fun. One of my teammates actually bounced the ball on my head twice in one play, caught it and scored. It’s kind of a team joke,” Ussery said.
Ussery and her teammates have been playing basketball together since high school. She sees intramurals as a way to continue enjoying the game without having to deal with the added pressure and time consumption that comes with playing for an organized team.
“I don’t hoop on a team anymore,” Ussery said. “I love the game, and with intramurals I can play when I feel like it, not because I have to”
Ussery is not the only one who likes the laidback atmosphere that intramural sports provide, senior Ranzi Kempf also enjoys participating in and officiating games.
“I work at most of the intramural games and special events,” Kempf said. “I think they are a great way to meet new people and learn more about sports.”
Kempf recently participated in intramural softball and her team won division.
“Our team is called HCE,” Kempf said. “I know this is going to sound silly but it stands for Hot and Cold Elephants. One of the girls on the team suggested it randomly to be funny and it stuck.”
“That is what I love about intramurals. They are more about having fun than winning or losing. Winning is definitely fun, too, though,” Kempf said.
Whether students are participating, officiating, or cheering from the sidelines, like Jessica Fischer, the girlfriend of a volleyball player on the “Demon Beagles,” they are having fun.
“I am not so good at sports in general,” Fischer said. “I don’t really take the time to learn all of the rules, but I am a great supporter. I love to watch other people play. It’s especially fun watching people I know.”
Fischer has a small collection of T-shirts from the various intramurals her boyfriend and friends have participated in. She said they make them to show support.
Homemade T-shirts are not the only kind that can be found at intramurals, though. Every student who participates in a sport is given a free T-shirt and winners are given special championship shirts.
“After a league championship, all of the members on the winning team are given shirts proclaiming their victory,” Joe Gratz, Assistant Director of Intramural Recreation said. “The students seem to really like them and oftentimes I’ll see them wearing shirts from previous years.”
Intramural sports have been a part of USI for over eight years now and as time as gone by the number of participants have increased.
“We have had a great turnout this year so far. I think it’s partly due to the nice weather this fall,” Gratz said. “Last year it was cold and rainy. Nobody really thinks playing volleyball in the sand sounds fun when it’s 30 degrees outside.”
Gratz hopes that, throughout the year more, students will sign up to participate in intramurals on the RFWC website.
“I love being a part of intramurals. It is fun for me to be able to watch the students have fun,” Gratz said.