Listen up, Anteaters! There’s football at UC Irvine! Intramural flag football, that is. Throughout the school year, our very own Anteater Recreation Center offers various intramural sports, like flag football, which are designed to accommodate the needs of the everyday sports lover. Intramural sports enable all students, staff and faculty to participate in a sport of their choice, whether by actively competing in the game or just supporting your friends from the sidelines.
‘Intramural sports are for the everyday athlete,’ said Johnson Pok, who has been the intramurals director at the ARC for the past three years. ‘It is for people who wish to further their athletics in college, but cannot play at the varsity level.’
This fall quarter, the ARC offers a wide array of sports leagues and tournaments for both sexes. Co-recreational and 3-on-3 basketball, flag football, volleyball and indoor soccer make up the sports leagues. Ultimate Frisbee, 7-on-7 soccer, men’s and women’s team tennis and singles tennis are offered as tournaments.
The difference between league games and tournament games is the length of play. While league games are ongoing throughout the entire quarter, tournaments usually begin and end on the same day. Additionally, participants in league sports can choose between varying levels of play. Each of the five sports offers a competitive level, a recreational level and sometimes even an intermediate level.
Those who wish to play at the competitive level usually have prior knowledge and experience of the game. The recreational level, on the other hand, is for people who have never played competitively but hope to learn and develop fundamental sports skills.
‘As for those who have had some type of non-competitive experience,’ Pok said, ‘the intermediate level would be more suitable for a slightly more difficult opponent.’
Another minor difference between the levels of play is the prize for the intramural champions. The competitive level champions receive ‘Intramural Champion’ T-shirts, whereas the recreational and intermediate level champions receive hand towels. Aside from competitive, recreational and intermediate levels, there are also co-recreational levels for sports like soccer and basketball. What this means is that both men and women are allowed to play on the same team.
Moreover, there is a separate list of rules for the co-recreational league. For example, every time a female player scores, one extra point is added to the score for that team. The ARC also provides a separate intramural league for fraternities and sororities in sports like flag football, volleyball and basketball.
The reason for this is that fraternities and sororities use intramurals to accumulate end-of-the-year points against each other. The intensity during these games can escalate to high degrees, according to third-year English major, Elijah Whang.
‘Sometimes it gets crazy loud when the sidelines yell back and forth at each other,’ Whang said. ‘Not only are people playing to win here, but people are playing for bragging rights.’
Intramural sports are also a great way to meet new people who share some of the same interests as you do. For freshmen, transfer students or other students who are unable to get a team together, there is a ‘Free Agent’ sign-up list located at the Sales Desk on the second floor of the ARC. This list allows any person to sign up and eventually start a team of their own with other free agents.
‘All you do is sign up for a date and time, leave your contact information and show up at the team meeting,’ Pok said. ‘Your team pays their entry fee and you’re ready to go.’
This process is not difficult at all. Perhaps the most difficult part for each team is choosing a catchy team name. Several different clubs on campus also use intramural sports as a good resource for team-building and social gatherings, all while having some good, clean, competitive fun. Others use intramurals to stay in shape and to continue their athletics after high school.
‘I like to play basketball,’ said second-year math major Kenny Takahashi. ‘I played in high school and my friends and I saw that intramurals were the only organized ball we could play, so we signed up my freshman year.’
In some cases, a large motivating factor to the participation among students in intramural sports is solely the T-shirt. There are also several other intramural options, such as becoming an official for the games.
The complete schedule with team dates and times of all the league games and tournaments can be found on the campus recreation Web site as well as at the Sales Desk.