Speaking about maintaining his health through his participation in intramural basketball, Brian Daly ’18 says, “I do it to make up for all the drinking.” Ayden Eickhoff ’19 says, “I enjoy playing intramural sports because they create friendly competition in a low-stakes environment.” Whatever the reason, there are plenty of intramural sports to take part in at Bates. They all are competitive but do not expect players to have great skill, and they create a welcoming and fun atmosphere rather than focusing solely on winning and competition. Eickhoff says, “Because of that environment, the focus is not as much on winning as it is on having a good time.”
Bates offers a variety of intramural options, ranging from basketball in the fall and winter to softball in the spring. Whatever you enjoy playing, there is probably an opportunity to do it. For example, there did not used to be an intramural soccer team at Bates. Eickhoff speaks to this, saying, “Some friends on the track team made an IM soccer team during short term my first year at Bates. I have stuck with it every season ever since!” Students can join teams that already exist or create their own if sports they want to play are not currently available. It creates an environment in which anyone can participate, regardless of skill or experience.
The combination of the variety of available sports and the attitude of players to welcome anyone creates an inclusive atmosphere for prospective players. Eickhoff says, “There are so many different sports offered so something is bound to align with your skills. You don’t have to be an ‘athlete’ to make a positive difference on a team.” With this kind of attitude from the players, Eickhoff encourages everyone to try something out: “Do it!” she says. “It’s a great study break and there are no participation requirements if you end up really not enjoying it.”
Players can make it what they want it to be, without feeling pressured to do anything more. For some athletes, this means competing while for others it simply means having fun and being active. As Sean Lovett ’18 says, “I do it to make sure I don’t become obese.” Many players talk about remaining active even though they don’t play a competitive sport anymore. Many others cite the ability to enjoy getting away from the classroom and their studies for a while in order to do something different, even if it is not a sport they have played in the past. Being able to take some time to do something new is exciting and fun, and provides a new way to meet people and engage with different parts of the Bates experience. Whatever your reason, intramural athletes encourage everyone to try something out and join a sport. You never know what you might end up really enjoying.