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Not Your Ordinary Intramurals

Intramural sports are as much a staple of college life as frat houses and sororities. Not unlike the Greek life, intramurals are always trying to find different and fun activities for students to join.

Morehead State University students can play in a Corn Toss tournament; the University of New Hampshire has wheelchair handball. If you aren’t into land sports, hop into an inner tube at University of North Carolina (UNC), Yale, Cornell, or even University of Alaska-Anchorage and play inner tube water polo. Platform tennis is gaining popularity at Bucknell, where the heated surface keeps the court dry and ice-free all year. Disc Golf is growing as well. How about hockey without skates, a ball instead of a puck, and brooms for sticks while still on ice? It’s the New England college game of Broomball.

Intramurals are a way for students to compete, exercise, socialize and regain general well-being, especially after long weeks in the classroom.

“[Broomball] is fun and a good workout," said junior Kimberly Hough, a student at State University of New York at Oswego.

Broomball forces players to be in constant motion for 12 minutes at a time, for three periods. This is a long time for anyone, but the players feed off the competition.

“It’s definitely intense," Hough said, “but it’s a good social gathering as well."

Her team, The Ice Angels, has never won a championship, but everyone always walks away from the double elimination tournament with a smile on their face.

The Corn Toss tournament at Morehead State University in Kentucky brings out 100 teams annually. Intramural Director Margaret LaFontaine said they decided to start the tournament based on its popularity as a frat fundraiser.

Corn holing, as it’s better known, is a game where players toss corn seed-filled bags at an often wooden platform, which has a hole in it. The rules are essentially the same as horseshoes.

“[College kids] play at tailgate parties," she said. “Students love it."

The college decided to fund the campus tournament for the first time in 2004. It initially bought 12 to 15 sets, according to LaFontaine, at $80 each. The inaugural tournament was a huge success, filling the 100 team limit with ease. It’s just another social event for students, and where else can one look at the brackets and see the “Corn Dawgs" as your next match?

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has been offering an interesting intramural sport for the past 18 years: Inner Tube Water Polo. It’s played exactly like water polo, but players must remain in their tubes at all times.

“Most of the time everyone is there to have fun," said Dustin Van Sloten, director of intramural sports at UNC-Chapel Hill, “There is usually a lot of laughing."

At UNC, roughly 300 students play.

As far as strategies, Van Sloten said it's usually a "free-for-all." The school also offers Inner Tube Basketball, which isn’t as popular, but still draws many students.

Inner Tube Water Polo stretches from coast to coast, and even to Alaska. At the University of California-Davis, it’s an outdoor sport.

There is one main problem that plagues the inner tube leagues nationwide: finding tubes that won’t break. UNC-Chapel Hill came up with a solution to the problem.

“We usually go to a local tire store and purchase tire tubes," Van Sloten said. “However, they are very rough and scratch the players."

Regardless of the equipment, Van Sloten said the game is still entertaining and fun.

Campuses are supporting these creative new sports more and more, no longer having just the typical basketball, softball and volleyball competition. At Cornell College in Iowa there is even a Watermelon Seed Spitting tournament.


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