Improved facilities, participation for IM sports

By Nathan Coppersmith

This year it appears that the Leonard Center is the place to be on a Sunday. While some students have been getting their normal Sunday workout in, many have been participating in various intramural sports. Macalester’s intramural sports program has flourished since the opening of the Leonard Center in August, and the college boasts one of the more extensive programs in the area. In the fall the program offered competitive and recreational (co-rec) outdoor soccer, co-rec outdoor flag football, co-red outdoor ultimate Frisbee, co-rec volleyball, and a 3 on 3 basketball tournament.

This winter the program sponsored co-rec 5 on 5 basketball, co-rec dodgeball, co-rec indoor soccer, co-rec indoor ultimate Frisbee, and co-rec table tennis. The spring features co-rec softball, co-rec kickball, and a co-rec racquetball tournament. Outdoor tennis was taken away this year and table tennis and racquetball were added.

Director of the intramural program and head volleyball coach Stephanie Schleuder believes this year should be one of the biggest years in intramural participation ever. She hasn’t done the math yet, but she believes that roughly 1080 students have been participating in intramural sports this year.

“I think for a long time people thought Mac students weren’t interested in physical activities, but we just didn’t have the opportunities. The campus culture has definitely changed,” Schleuder said.

She believes this huge participation and culture shift stems from new available space for intramural sports. The Leonard Center offers unprecedented opportunities and Macalester, unlike many other schools, allows the intramural program to use varsity facilities.

“I think it’s admirable that Macalester has opened up all the varsity facilities for use by intramural sports,” Schleuder said. “The softball field, baseball field, and stadium are truly campus facilities, not just athletic facilities. The Leonard Center has allowed us to have more offerings and to be able to offer more sports at the same time. In the past it would have been hard to run dodgeball, indoor soccer, and basketball at the same time. I think the welcoming atmosphere of the Leonard Center has gotten more people interested in participation as well.”

The intramural program may ultimately be limited in terms of space, but is still looking to expand. Schleuder is interested in setting up an advisory board comprised of students that would help to develop more intramural sports and improve upon the program. Interested students should email her at [email protected].