IMs progress successfully amid a difficult semester
In their second semester, socially distant intramurals have advanced successfully without any COVID-19-related setbacks.
Since their official start on Feb. 22, intramurals have progressed smoothly, with all games played as originally scheduled, according to Head IM Secretary Rachel Cohen ’21.
After adapting to public health restrictions last semester, the group of secretaries executed intramurals successfully, except for a 10-day pause in November due to a cluster of COVID-19 cases. This semester, IMs have continued without pause, and as the weather warms, they have slowly transitioned to outdoor games. According to the current schedule, badminton and knockout finished playoffs on March 25 and March 24, respectively. Ladderball and spikeball began their season on March 15, and table tennis and pickleball started on March 29. At the moment, the only season that has yet to start is knockout’s second round, which is set to begin next week on April 12.
“Intramurals have been a lot of fun, and a great way to de-stress by enjoying the company of others in-person for a change,” Ben Scher ’23, Timothy Dwight IM secretary and a former sports reporter for the News, wrote in an email to the News. “Intramurals have gone according to plan so far, and I hope that they continue to do so. We’ve been fortunate enough this semester to not have an outbreak impede upon our ability to migrate around campus, and as a result we have not needed to cancel games as a direct result of COVID-19.”
This IM season is virtually unchanged from last semester in terms of restrictions, with the only noticeable difference being the participation of sophomores, who were allowed back on campus for the spring semester. Cohen told the News that sophomores have been “very spirited.”
While player turnout is significantly lower than during a typical semester pre-COVID-19, it has not changed drastically compared to last fall. Timothy Dwight IM Secretary Jessica Li ’22 told the News that select sports, like spikeball and cornhole, which were especially successful among first years, have had slightly less turnout compared to the fall. But she said that overall IM participation has been relatively unchanged since the fall, with sophomores fully replacing first-year students.
“It is different not having the first years because they usually carry IMs a lot, so that has been a noticeable difference,” Blaise Fangman ’22, Silliman IM secretary, told the News. “But I would also say that the sophomores are definitely excited to be back on campus.”
Katie Quesada ’22, head Branford IM secretary, said that since the usual IM sports, such as flag football and soccer, cannot be played this year due to public health restrictions, a lot of the usual participants have not been as involved this year. However, she said that the new sports have brought forth a new audience that was not previously interested in the usual sports.
Fangman told the News that in Silliman the majority of players this season have been sophomores, and Li similarly said that sophomores have been “very eager to participate.” Yet Wyatt Nabatoff ’22, Morse IM secretary, said that compared to first years, who are more willing to participate in a variety of sports, sophomores usually only consistently play in select sports. He said that this year the majority of sophomores involved in IMs have been the ones that participated regularly last year. Thus, it has been harder to find a wider array of participants.
However, according to Scher, Li and Fangman, even though sophomores have been consistently participating, there has been an overall increase in game forfeits compared to a usual semester. Li said that some colleges have been forfeiting games more frequently than others, which means that they have not been involved in the season as much.
As weather conditions improve, outdoor sports — spikeball and ladderball — have seen continued interest from players.
“We are still continuing with indoor sports in Payne Whitney, but we have also begun seasons of outdoor sports like spikeball,” Cohen said. “The improved weather allows for more variety in sports. We are already about halfway through our outdoor sports season and are on track to continue moving forward for the remainder of the school year.”
Even though IMs are significantly different than usual, many students are appreciative of the community they have provided during distance learning.
IM participant Calvin Kaleel ’22 told the News that given the circumstances this year, it is wonderful that students can still gather and participate in community activities.
Similarly, Quesada shared that IMs have been encouraging her to leave her dorm room, and she has been forced to go outside and come into contact with some familiar faces that she had not seen since her first year at Yale.
However, not everyone has transitioned as smoothly to the changes in IMs this semester.
“IMs have been fun, but obviously they are not the same as before, so I haven’t been participating as much as last year,” J.R. Stauff ’23 wrote to the News in a text. “The selection [of IMs] is both a blessing and a curse, because it allows me to play fun activities like knockout or ping pong, but I also miss the classic sports like real basketball and football.”
Timothy Dwight is currently in the lead for the Tyng Cup with 408 total points.
Nicole Rodriguez | firstname.lastname@example.org