Amid the COVID crisis in which over half of its students have been sent home, extramural sports at Gettysburg College have been cancelled for the past nine months.
But sports are an important part of college life at Gettysburg, and students continue to hone their skills through intramural sports run by the Campus Recreation Department.
During a normal semester, students would be playing intramural flag football, soccer, and indoor floor hockey. But due to COVID-19 a variety of different sports have been added that allow students to safely play while following the strict campus health guidelines.
On the list for the fall semester are badminton, tennis, beach volleyball, and pickleball.
“Intramurals help students’ well-being by increasing their sense of belonging, connection, mental and physical health,” said Director of Campus Recreation Cindy Wright.
“Especially for students who live in single rooms and if they’re not on a sports team it’s challenging to build a healthy social life,” said Head Intramural Coordinator Jordan Pinette.
Team rosters are made up in part of “free agents,” solo players who join the league and are picked up by the teams. “The free agents are put on a team with people they haven’t met before and they’re making new friends,” said Pinette.
Pinette emphasized the importance of social distancing, mask-wearing, and sanitizing of hands and equipment while participating in games.
The college has supported the intramural program as a way to keep students healthy and engaged with others. According to the National Intramural and Recreational Sports Association (NIRSA), students who participate in intramural sports report higher GPAs and higher levels of physical health and quality of life compared to non-participants.
“The school has praised the number of participants. Everyone thinks it’s good to see people enjoying themselves outside,” said Pinette.
“It was important that we did things safely following COVID guidelines. Once that was done it was great to see how many people were genuinely enjoying themselves. For some, the early session of Intramurals was their first time out of their rooms socially,” said Pinette.
In addition to the players, spectators also attend games, further enhancing belonging and connection with other students.
While the future of extramural sports on campus is currently unknown, intramurals will be there to uplift campus life as much as it can.