Intramurals play a huge role in shaping the student body at Laurier. They give students who aren’t part of varsity sports a chance to get involved in athletics.
The variety of sports offered gives everybody a chance to choose whichever sport pleases them.
The inclusivity is what makes intramurals so special and at Laurier, the program is arguably more expansive than many other OUA schools.
Jennifer O’Neill, the head of the intramurals department, talked about what makes intramurals so different at Laurier.
“I think we try to make intramurals very inclusive. What we do different than a lot of schools is that we make multiple divisions and a lot of our programs are co-ed. There’s a place for everybody to play with their friends,” she said.
O’Neill continued to explain that you don’t have to be experienced to participate in an intramural sport.
“Volleyball has five different divisions. We have people in co-ed volleyball who have never played volleyball; they just want to be active,” she said.
Badminton and cricket were the two new sports added this year. The innovation within the intramurals program adds to students’ excitement on a yearly basis.
“Badminton got some people to participate who had never been a part of intramurals before. Cricket had about 40 international students from Australia, England, Pakistan, India. It’s a huge program and in some cases, bigger than other OUA schools but it’s that way for a reason,” O’Neill said.
O’Neill added that athletics department try to integrate as many sports from as many cultures as possible.
“Every year we try to add new sports. This year it was cricket and badminton. Handball was a new addition to RAC (Resident Athletic Council) last year. We added volleyball and two vs. two soccer in squash courts. We also added full field soccer and bouldering,” she said.
“Every year, if we’re not adding a new sport, we’re at least changing the way we offer the sport. We always had flag football, but we made it a co-ed flag football last year. So we always try to do something to appeal to a different group of students.”
With the number of sports and divisions included within the intramurals program, there is a ton of effort being put into the planning and scheduling of the sports. O’Neill mentioned that all the different athletics departments work together to make sure everything is running smoothly.
“The athletics department is fantastic. When you look at what we offer, you see a three-court gymnasium, university stadium has a gym, alumni field. Everything is used for clubs, varsity and intramurals. It all comes down to sharing,” she said.
“Varsity is extremely dedicated to the intramural program. They want to see it succeed. So they schedule their practices around intramurals. It comes down to a great partnership between our coaches, our club participants and myself.”
Intramurals give students a chance to become involved athletically, which can be a good way to de-stress when taking on a large university course load or when exams start piling up. Also, with technology evolving the way it is and students spending more and more time on their laptops, they often don’t get the daily physical activity they need.
Intramurals can be a great way for students to socialize with friends, meet new people, blow off steam and engage in friendly competition during their time at Laurier.