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Intramurals: Community meets competition | The Echo - FlagSpin

Intramurals: Community meets competition | The Echo

First Weast took the field, the autumn leaves darkening overhead as they met on the line of scrimmage.

Throughout the season, tennis shoes and cleats have slid in the mud, kicked up dirt and grass and ultimately, gained victory over the opposing women’s football teams.

But on Oct. 2, the Flag Football Tournament began, and First Weast (the combined First East and First West Olson team) had to prove their prowess once again.

Alongside them, the men’s teams have gone through their tournament as well, and the first round of intramurals has slowly come to a close.

With that said, though, the intramural program as a whole is far from over.

“This year we’re offering flag football, ultimate (frisbee), soccer, volleyball, basketball, another volleyball tournament, pickleball, softball, spikeball and then we might do (a) sand volleyball tournament,” Frank Smith, president of Taylor Intramurals, said.

Smith hopes to expand the sport offerings in future years. At the same time, though, he also wants to create more opportunities for students who may not have the time commitment or desire to join a full intramural.

Most recently, intramurals hosted a glow-in-the-dark pickleball game, where students could join for a one-night-only time of fun featuring music and games on the court.

As for traditional intramural time commitments, sophomore Dalton Jones said that many times, the level of involvement is what players make it.

“We’re there… you know, (to) just have fun,” Jones said. “You know, as Christians, we’re called to show God’s glory.”

But of course, some students do take the game more seriously. Close matches can get a little heated as players become more competitive, but at the root of it all, there remains an underlying level of community and healthy conversation.

It’s evident even in the girls’ flag football teams, which are known to be some of the more competitive intramurals on campus. 

“I enjoy getting… on the line,” Meg Schaffer, a returning intramural player said. “I talk to the other girls I’m defending in between plays. And so I definitely take a chill approach.”

Schaffer, who is one of the girls on Olson’s combined “First Weast” team also noted that the community aspect of intramurals doesn’t have to come only from your hall.

Players are not only welcome but encouraged to create inter-dorm teams, emphasizing the community mindset intramurals are built around.

“Taylor’s good at promoting growth in terms of, like, your wing, maybe your floor and then, like, our classes, but outside of that, like, there’s not a lot of events we’re in (with people outside of these groups),” Smith said. “I’ve seen that intramurals… are great places to get to know people outside of just one area.”

Schaffer experienced this first-hand when an English Hall student joined the Olson team last year. Although there’s always a period of time when a team is still developing its chemistry, Schaffer believed the team fit well together, never thinking about the difference of dorm location.

In Wengatz, where Jones is now playing his second season of flag football, there’s a similar spirit of cooperation. Everyone gets playing time. Everyone is supportive of one another, even when mistakes are made.

It’s almost a culture shock for him, especially after playing high school football at a public institution. 

“They didn’t yell at me,” Jones said of his intramural team. “They weren’t like, ‘Oh, come on, Dalton, get your freaking snaps down.’… (It’s) so much better.”

Because ultimately, no one’s competing for play time. No one’s worried about making it to the professional level or even outdoing another player. Intramurals thrive at Taylor simply because students are committed to remembering intramurals are just that — one more opportunity to live interconnected.

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Travis Burnett

Travis Burnett

A pioneer in the flag football community, Travis helped co-found the Flag Football World Championship Tour, FlagSpin and USA Flag. Featuring 15+ years of content creation for the sport of flag football, creating and managing the largest flag football tournaments on the planet, coaching experience at the youth and adult level as well as an active player with National and World Championship level experience.

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