Courtesy of Ellie Jose

After their first socially distant semester in the fall, Yale intramurals are set to return this semester on Feb. 22, with a few adaptations to comply with public health and weather restrictions. 

Last semester, IMs adapted to Yale’s COVID-19 restrictions, and, except for a 10-day pause, IM secretaries and players were able to execute intramural finals for all fall games. Restrictions included mandatory masks, limits on the number of players in the room and physical distancing. Last fall, typical IM activities, including high-contact field sports like soccer and football, were replaced with limited contact sports including pickleball and table tennis. Only students in residence as well as juniors and seniors were able to participate. 

Last semester’s restrictions will continue this semester with spring intramurals. But due to the cold weather, all sports will have to be moved indoors, calling for further precautions and allowing fewer athletes to participate.

“Since we are only playing indoors for the time being, there are fewer sports offered,” Head IM Secretary Rachel Cohen ’21 wrote to the News. “Most of our usual winter sports (like broomball or indoor soccer) do not comply with covid safety rules so we’ve replaced them with distanced sports that require fewer participants. Outdoor sports were very popular in the fall, and we anticipate they will also be well attended when they resume this spring.”

Cohen expects a high rate of participation in IMs this semester. She said that even though many of the usual sports had to be replaced with others this year due to distancing requirements, all of the new sports have been well-received by players.

For now, planned IMs for the spring semester include badminton, knockout, table tennis, cornhole, pickleball, spikeball and ladderball. Badminton, knockout and ladderball are slated to replace fall activities like KanJam, HORSE, bocce and CupCheck. Schedules and standings can be found here. Cohen told the News that outdoor sports — ladder and spikeball — will hopefully start in March, once weather conditions are better.

Pauli Murray IM Secretary Severyn Kushmeliuk ’21 echoed Cohen’s sentiments. He noted that while they can prepare for the season as best they can, IMs are always subject to change.

“It is kind of a wait and see,” Kushmeliuk said. “That is kind of how it always has been, in the pandemic and before the pandemic.”

Even with another physically distanced season, both Cohen and Kushmeliuk are looking forward to what this semester will bring.

According to Kushmeliuk, IMs have always been a great way to connect students across residential colleges. Even with restrictions, he believes these connections can still be formed. Cohen agreed, telling the News that many parts of student life have been put on hold this year, so she is glad that IMs could be adapted to provide a safe way for students to socialize.

Given that sophomores were not allowed back on campus last semester, with some exceptions, this will be the first time sophomores can participate in socially distanced IMs.

One such sophomore, J.R. Stauff ’23, expressed his excitement about this upcoming IM season. 

“It is definitely super weird not being able to just go to the gym and play basketball,” Stauff said. “Last year, my friends and I did that most nights, so it is definitely exciting for [intramurals] to come back, even though it is not exactly the same.”

As a first year, Stauff played IM flag football, volleyball and basketball. Even though those specific sports will not be offered this semester, he is looking forward to being able to play again. He said he is especially excited for knockout and cornhole.

But for remotely enrolled students, this will be yet another semester without IMs.

“It feels like I’ve kind of been cut off, which I can completely understand,” Aidan Cabral ’23 said. “But, I still feel a disconnect.”

Last year, Cabral was an avid IMs player, participating in flag football, volleyball, basketball and soccer. To him, IMs were always a fun way to get away from schoolwork and socialize, and not being able to participate in them for a year has been disappointing.

Although the Ivy League has canceled most varsity spring competition, IM players and secretaries hope for another successful semester for intramural sports.

Timothy Dwight is currently in the lead for IMs, with 282 total points.

Nicole Rodriguez | nicole.rodriguez.nr444@yale.edu