New intramural website debuts

Thanks to a new website designed by Calhoun Intramural Sports Secretary Ben Sherman ’13, aspiring Yale athletes no longer have to make the long trek up to the IM fields to find that their team has forfeited.

The new website allows students from every college to sign up for intramural games they can attend and sends two email alerts to confirm their participation. Sherman started developing the website during the student-run Hackathon on Feb. 23 and 24 — one week after two Calhoun IM teams he captained were forced to forfeit games — and received positive feedback on the website after he submitted it to the YCC’s App Challenge on March 1. Sherman said he designed the website to encourage greater participation in IMs because he thinks more students will participate if they are assured there will be enough players.

“One of the challenges of being a captain of an IM sports team is convincing people to play,” Sherman said. “People at Yale are busy, and they only want to come if they are sure they’re going to have the opportunity to play.”

Sherman said he believes poor attendance in IM games is caused by a lack of communication, adding that the website would help improve communication by consolidating player information. After students sign up for games, they are sent one email 45 minutes before the start time to confirm their attendance and another 30 minutes before alerting students that their college has enough players for the game. The website also notifies players if games are rescheduled or canceled, he added.

Sherman said that Head IM Secretary Michael Garn ’15 has stated he would like the website to replace the current IM website officially next fall. In the meantime, college captains can use the site to organize their own IM teams.

Silliman IM Secretary Daryl Hok ’14, who has already used the website to recruit players for a badminton game on Monday, said that Sherman did a good job addressing the problems IM teams face.

“I’ve heard a lot of feedback from people saying this should have been here a lot earlier,” Hok said. “It makes things very simple for captains.”

The website does not indicate players’ genders, Hok added, which is a necessary feature for sports that require a certain number of girls and boys. But Hok said Sherman had indicated to IM secretaries that the problem would be fixed shortly.

Trumbull IM Secretary Lindsey Mischner ’13 said she likes that the website can specify her own college’s schedule of games and gives the option to export the schedule to iCal or Google Calendar.

“I think it could be a very useful tool, especially on the administrative side of the IM secretary job,” she said. “One of the duties of an IM secretary that is purely organizational — and, frankly, tedious — is creating the college’s calendar at the beginning of each season, so that will definitely be a boon to IM secretaries across the board.”

But Mischner said she was not sure how the new IM website would impact sports participation because the website’s automation may not be able to provide the personal contact that incentivizes players to participate. She has found success in getting people to play partially through advertisement but also through the establishment of personal connections and friendships, she added.

Mischner also said she thinks a potential player might be “more likely to flake” when the person sees that a team has enough people to avoid forfeiting.

Pierson IM Secretary Alexander Haden ’14 said he thought the website would be effective in keeping dedicated IM athletes informed, but he added that he did not know if it would motivate students who do not usually attend IMs.

“I think [the website] could work for some people, but for the first few years, I think we will stick to the same process we use,” he said.

Spring IM sports include dodgeball, softball, soccer, volleyball, badminton, golf, Ultimate Frisbee, billiards and croquet.

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