The intramural athletics program is offering some new options and some old favorites this semester at Grinnell.
“This year, we threw out a few sports … We are doing [sand volleyball] again this year because it was really popular,” said Jason Ormond ’13, student director. “Also this year, our new one is pickleball and there is a league in February.”
One of the sports Ormond really wants to encourage is “rock, paper, scissors”. There will be a tournament on Saturday, December 1 for students, faculty and staff.
“I’ll push this tournament as far as possible because I think it’s pretty funny to have,” he said.
Each year, there are around 18 leagues and tournaments. The tournaments are always on Saturdays and last for only one day. At the end of the day, the winner gets an intramural champion T-shirt. Leagues play twice a week, with a whole team competing during the regular season. After finishing the regular season, the leagues move onto a playoff and eventually a team is crowned champion. Most of the leagues and tournaments are coed. If however, there is enough interest in something like table tennis and badminton, sports will separate by gender and have two champions. A few competitions have already started: sand volleyball, handball and knockout.

Photograph by Chris Gallo.

The low-key atmosphere of intramurals attracts students. Intramurals can be a good way to unwind and relieve stress.
“In Grinnell, everyone is stressed out all the time with all the homework and classes, and intramurals are like, go outside and just have fun with your friends and play sports. It’s really relaxing. Even now, that’s my favorite part of the week, when I am not stuck in classroom, or reading a book or something,” said Andrew Klinkenborg ’13, the other student director.
The variety of sports has also increased participation, as there is something for everyone.
“The participation is good; lots of people want to play. … We’ll soon have racquetball start, and then we have soccer, basketball, football, badminton, etc. So far, sand volleyball is one of most our popular leagues and lots of people sign up,” Klinkenborg said.
Intramural athletics also offer a new way to meet people.
“Not only do you get creative experiences, good memories, and the chance to play whatever sport you like because you enjoy it, but you also spend time with your friends and meeting people from all around the campus who participate,” Ormond added.
Any interested students can sign up on the website: http://grinnell.athleague.com/. The intramural website was just launched last year—previously, students had to contact the student director through email. The website elminated a few complicated steps, making it more accessible to students. After signing up, the next step for participants is showing up and having fun, whether or not they know the rules.
“There are some leagues, like pickleball, where I will assume people don’t know how to play and there will be referees or someone supervising that league or tournament who knows the rules and how to play,” Ormond said.
The knockout tournament is already over and the volleyball league is three games into their season. The next deadline to sign up is September 28, for racquetball. The remaining fall intramural competitions are billards and Fitness Challenge.
Most Saturday tournaments start at 1 p.m., and the leagues play twice a week. As the year goes on, new sports will be advertised on posters throughout the campus.