Intramural sports are a staple at schools across the country and are a great way to get involved, especially in the spring semester at the University of South Carolina. Many students may find participating in intramurals to be beneficial as an escape from their school work or to meet other students.
Co-sports program coordinator James Harris said that intramural sports see an increase in participation during the springtime. There are usually four to five thousand participants a semester, Harris said.
Harris also said that basketball and soccer are the most played sports during the spring semester — with 150 and 120 teams respectively — each with seven to twelve students per team.
Assistant director for sports programs Michael Potter said he believed that participants can learn valuable life skills from intramural sports such as sportsmanship.
“There’s a civil side of learning how to be within society and operate within the rules and guidelines that exist,” Potter said. “It helps create a lot more structure in your life where if you have this game at this time, you’re then dedicating more focused energy to studying at a certain time or keeping your affairs in order.”
Being able to destress while having fun is an invaluable benefit Ellis Hunter, a first-year finance and accounting student, gets from participating in intramural sports.
“It’s more fun than just going out and working out by yourself,” Hunter said. “Whenever you're able to go out there and just play basketball with some of your friends — even if you win or lose — it's fun to just get out there and relieve some stress.”
Among relieving stress, intramural sports provide other benefits to students. In the case of second-year finance student Mallik Banat, the physical and mental aspects are the main reasons he participates.
“It does a lot of great things for your body and for your mental, as well,” Banat said. “For example, you know a lot of issues that may be prevalent in your mind, sports serve as a great distraction from negative thoughts.”
Banat emphasized that participating in intramural sports is an integral part of the college experience while also helping students grow socially.
“It’s a great social experience,” Banat said. “You put yourself out there, and I think that's an important aspect of college is putting yourself out there and trying new things.”
Co-sports program coordinator Justin Furlough participated in intramural sports when he was a student at USC and echoed the social sentiment they hold.
“Sports is very humanizing,” Furlough said. “In what we’ve seen, people kind of bond around that shared experience.”
Whether it be traditional sports such as basketball and soccer or abstract activities such as a climbing league or canoe battleship, intramural sports offer something to anyone wanting to get involved during the springtime.