The University Record, February 4, 2002

Intramural sports hit a homerun with faculty and staff

By Lesley Harding

A recent IM game of inner tube water polo. (Photo by Paul Jaronski, U-M Photo Services)
Several times a week, second-year medical student Dave Somand trades in his scrubs and stethoscope for sweats and a t-shirt. He joins other graduate students, faculty and staff as they battle it out, not in a classroom, but on the court. Somand plays weekly basketball games and participates in other sports hosted by the U-M’s Department of Recreational Sports.

“Intramural (IM) sports are a great way for me to have fun with my friends and classmates, while staying active, playing an organized sport, and also engaging in a little friendly competition. It is nice to have an organized forum for myself, as a medical student, to meet and compete against law, dental, business and other graduate students,” says Somand.

And the same goes for faculty and staff. The IM Sports Program offers leagues for graduate students, faculty and staff. “About 10 percent of our participants are faculty and staff,” says IM coordinator Cheryl Jendryka. Many University administrators don’t seem to know there are sports programs available to them, Jendryka says, or they’re worried the leagues are too competitive or not competitive enough. But, there’s something for everyone.”

“We have a nice mix. We have an “A” league for people who want to play competitive sports, and a “B” league for those graduate students, faculty or staff who just want to have some fun.”

“Through intramural sports, I have been introduced to people that I wouldn’t have gotten to know otherwise,” says Somand. “Competing against each other also adds another interaction I wouldn’t otherwise have.”

The IM Sports Program has arranged it so graduate students, faculty and staff can form their own teams or sign up as a “free agent” and join teams looking for players. Teams then get to pick the league they want to play in, whether against other students or faculty and staff teams.

Throughout the year to fit all kinds of schedules, the program offers a variety of sports, such as soccer, football, softball, broomball, table tennis, swimming, Frisbee and volleyball.

“The opportunities are endless, anything from the more traditional flag football to the more off-the-wall inner tube water polo and walleyball. There are plenty of options in terms of scheduling times to enable me to fit games into my schedule,” says Somand.

Jendryka says the Recreation Sports membership is similar to the YMCA. Faculty and staff can become members for $155 a year, or may choose to join on a per-semester basis. Membership allows individuals to join any league or use the facilities workout equipment. Any faculty, staff or their dependents, along with alumni and retirees are eligible for membership.

Most intramural sports take place at the IM Building, the Sports Coliseum or Mitchell Fields. The memberships can be used at three locations around campus—the IM Building on Hoover and State, the Central Campus Recreation Building (CCRB) on Washtenaw Avenue and the North Campus Recreation Building (NCRB) on Hubbard Road. Facilities have traditional workout equipment, such as stationary bikes, treadmills, weight machines and swimming pools.

“This is a great way to relieve stress, “ says Jendryka. “This is a way to make your life so it’s not all about school and work. As competitive and strong as the University is, everyone needs to take a break from classes and just have fun.”

To find out more about the graduate student, faculty and staff intramural sports program, visit the department’s Web site at Teams form year round.