Even with no Tyng Cup to win and no residential college to play for, graduate students flock to their intramurals.
The fall graduate intramural sports — volleyball, soccer and softball — are in the midst of their playoffs, which began last weekend and will end this weekend.
But the winners will receive nothing more than glory — and possibly a championship dinner. The winning residential college in undergraduate intramurals takes home the Tyng Cup. This year, Yale may begin an annual championship dinner at the McDougal Center for the graduate intramural program.
Though graduate and professional intramurals are similar to the undergraduate program, many differences exist between the two, said Edward Mockus, associate director of intramurals.
The graduate and professional intramural program has a more complex structure with three leagues for each sport: a competitive league for more talented and serious players, a co-recreational league that sets a quota for the number of male and female participants, and a recreational league. The co-recreational league is the most popular.
Mockus said graduate and professional intramurals are not only important athletically but also socially. While people from different colleges can meet other undergraduates in many ways, the case is not the same for graduate and professional students, Mockus said.
“Intramurals are the one opportunity for graduate students at Yale to meet people,” he said.
Graduate and professional intramurals occur year-round and games in all seasons generally occur on weekends, Mockus said.
But such an extensive graduate and professional intramural package did not always exist. Before Mockus came to work at Yale in 1979, the program was student-run and not as extensive.
“There was a great disparity between what occurred for undergraduates and what occurred for graduates, so we tried to make some changes,” he said. “Grad students didn’t have a fair opportunity to participate in intramural sports.”
Back then, most of the limited teams were male-only squads from the School of Graduate Studies. Last year, 2,213 students participated in the graduate intramural program.
Although undergraduates play for their respective colleges, graduate and professional students can play for any department team. And team members name their own squads, with names often getting creative. For example, the Yale Divinity School’s softball team is named the God Squad, and the American Studies softball team goes by Vintage Leather.
“We sometimes know what the next medical discovery will be, based on the medical school’s team name,” Mockus said.
No Name, a volleyball team, is composed of a graduate students from the art, chemistry, physics and biology departments, among others, said team captain Esin Yurekli, a second year student in the School of Architecture.
“That’s the only way I could meet all the people at the art department,” she said. Yurekli’s team went 4–0 this season in the co-recreational league.
In soccer, Inter Haven Law advanced to the championship game set for this weekend, team captain Jorge Baron LAW ’03 said. Inter Haven Law went 2–1–3 in the regular season, the same record as three other soccer teams in the league.
Baron said he shares Mockus’ sentiment of team camaraderie.
“A lot of people get really excited. It’s a good way to meet people and have fun,” Baron said. “I wish we could play longer.”
David Davies SOM ’03 has played softball in the spring, summer, and fall seasons, and currently captains his school’s team, Managerial Controls, in the recreational league. Even though his team went 1–4 this season, he said he had fun.
“I enjoy playing softball,” he said. “I’m glad that Yale provides this.”