Some students come to Yale to achieve academic success, some come to hone their acting or singing skills. Others, however, use their four years in New Haven to pursue one of the crown jewels of the residential college system — the Tyng Cup.

Just like the wide variety of courses and majors available to students, Yale is also famous for its numerous athletic opportunities. For those who do not have the time or the talent to wear the blue and white of Yale varsity uniforms, a suitable alternative can be found in the multicolored jerseys of the residential colleges, worn for intramural competition.

The Yale Intramural League pits the 12 colleges against each other in fierce athletic competition over the hallowed Tyng Cup, which, since 1934 has been the object of every intramural (IM) athlete’s dreams. Timothy Dwight College holds the highest number of Tyng Cup victories at 12, the last one coming in the 1996-97 season, while upstart Saybrook College has won the Cup four out of the last five years.

The real appeal of intramurals, however, is that they are open to anyone and offer a wide range of sports throughout the year. Students will usually receive announcements of upcoming signups for each of the three seasons, and they will then get the chance to join as many teams as they like, from coed soccer to coed inner tube water polo.

“When I first heard about IMs I was skeptical that I would have time,” Megan Nogasky ’05 said. “But after I went to a couple games, I really started to get into it. It’s great to be able to compete with new friends for your college.”

While intramural competitors are often talented athletes who played sports in high school, no previous experience is required. Former all-conference athletes and newcomers compete together, and no one should be dissuaded by their unfamiliarity with the sport.

Attempts are even made in men’s basketball, because of its popularity, to divide the league into three tiers — A, B, and C hoops — to put everyone on a level playing field.

“What makes IMs so great at Yale is the fact that anyone can participate.” Bryan Miller ’05 said. “Sure, I’m not a superstar, but I can still go out and play with most of the people out there.”

Students participate in IMs for a variety of reasons — to continue an athletic career from high school when varsity sports are not an option, to meet people within their colleges, or simply to take a necessary break from the rigors of academic life.

Yale intramural facilities are second to none and are positioned at different places on the campus. Outdoor sports are played at fields directly across from the Yale Bowl, a 10-minute shuttle bus ride from Payne Whitney Gymnasium, while the Lanman Center in Payne Whitney offers the basketball and volleyball venue. IM hockey players enjoy the rare treat of playing on the ice of Ingalls Rink.

So whether you have dreams of hoisting the Tyng Cup overhead, want to wear the free T-shirt that the members of the top team in each sport receive, or simply are looking for a little exercise and fun among the daily grind of classes, Yale intramurals are a highlight of the college system.