Students stay healthy with intramural and club sports

By Kierra Sondereker, student intern in university communications and marketing


Broomball (above), Knockerball, ice skating and ultimate frisbee are among the intramural and club sports offered for Miami students.

Perhaps the most daunting aspect of living a healthy lifestyle comes in the form of physical exercise. Gyms can be intimidating and routines difficult to maintain on a student’s schedule. However, many students have tackled this challenge through participation in intramural and club sports. But in the process, they have also discovered a sense of community and a fun way to relieve the stress of academics.

Miami offers 14 seasonal intramural sports in which students at any athletic level can create their own team with friends or sign up individually. Last year, students came together and formed more than 700 intramural teams.

Ruchelle Dunwoody, director of intramural sports, said that participating in intramurals not only contributes to mental and physical well-being, but also provides essential skills for the future.

“It teaches you how to communicate,” Dunwoody said. “It teaches you how to solve problems; it teaches you to work with others. And it gives you time management skills because you can do school, you can do work, and you can play sports.”

knockerballSarah Aldrich, a junior premedical studies and chemical engineering double major, has played on basketball, volleyball, soccer and broomball intramural teams in her time at Miami. While her love of sports and competitive streak are what first made her sign up, she has since learned just how much the intramural experience has helped her personal growth.

 “Playing on teams with people who may not have as much sports experience has taught me to curb my sometimes overly competitive nature and truly enjoy the social and recreation aspects of team sports,” Aldrich said. “On the other hand, attempting new sports has challenged me mentally and physically while increasing my appreciation for my teammates’ patience.”

John Regan is a senior nutrition and dietetics major and has played club baseball since freshman year. He said this experience not only helped him adjust to college life but also to maintain his physical and mental health.

iceskate-club“We have a really good team dynamic, and it always makes my weeks much better, especially when I’m really busy with schoolwork and tired from a long week,” Regan said. “Physically, I would say I have gotten even better at baseball since high school just because we play so much and really develop our skills at practice.”

In addition to exercise and personal growth, Miami club and intramural sports provide a social niche for students, something many find essential for a healthy lifestyle.

“Once you find your little niche, you don’t want to go away,” Dunwoody said. “At a lot of the first-year orientations, people are always asking about intramural and club sports. So those sports attract them, and then give them a sense of belonging and a reason why they want to be here. Just being a part of something that you like and having other people around you, it makes you feel like this is a place for you.” 

ultimate-frisbeeMiami also has more than 50 club sports teams, including men and women’s rugby, boxing and synchronized swimming. Roughly 1,500 students participate each year, and Gabby Kinnamon, assistant director of club sports, says that many of these students already have a background in athletics.

“A big part of club sports is community and having other people around you with similar interests,” Kinnamon said. “You come into college and you’ve been doing athletics your whole life. Club sports is a way to continue, even if you don’t make it to that varsity level.”