BY MARYANGELA BENTHAL
For years, students at Franciscan University of Steubenville have had the privilege of being able to participate in various exciting intramural sports. This semester, intramural basketball is extremely popular. It has drawn hundreds of students to create their own teams and rosters.
“We have 39 intramural basketball teams, so we are easily over 450 participants in intramural basketball,” Intramural Coordinator Kelly Herrmann said.
It’s clear to see that Franciscan students are eager to play intramural basketball, but what is it that draws so many students in?
“One of the things that enhance our intramural experience is the fact that we have households on campus,” Herrmann said. “A lot of people are kind of self-conscience if they don’t consider themselves an athlete. But through household, it’s a way to get involved with a group of friends where you don’t have to worry about being the best or looking good.”
Herrmann expressed how wonderful the connection between households and intramurals are.
“I think it’s great because once people get involved they realize it’s a lot of fun and it doesn’t matter how good you are, just go out and have fun,” she said. “I’m sure that if we didn’t have such a thriving household system here on campus, intramurals would not be growing in the same way.”
Although many students who participate in intramurals may not have serious athletic experience, there are still certainly those who do. For this reason the school split intramural basketball into two divisions, NCA and NCAA. The NCAA intramural division is not related to the inter-collegiate Division III teams.
“NCA competition is for novice players who really just want to have fun and aren’t too concerned about being competitive,” Herrmann said, “NCAA competition is for the people who have specific experience in that sport and are more capable players who want a more competitive experience.”
With this divide, students are able to fully enjoy themselves at the level they feel most comfortable.
“We went to having two different leagues when I was athletic director,” said Herrmann. “As our programs grew we just saw a huge discrepancy between the really good teams that wants to win and is serious, verses this household who’s just out there having fun.”
In addition to all groups participating in intramurals, student referees also play a large part in making the intramural basketball program as fun and successful as it is. These student refs go through some basic training, and are evaluated by supervisors throughout the season to ensure all games are being officiated as fair as possible. These refs are also trained to assist teams before, during and after games. This is to ensure that everyone, even those who are just there to have fun, can learn more and improve as the season continues.
“Some people think that as faithful people we should be kind of ‘wishy-washy’ and not competitive,” she stated. “I don’t believe that that’s what God wants for us at all. I think he wants us to do our best in every single thing we do.”