Athletics for All

Whether they are slamming against the Elting Gym siding to gain control of hockey pucks or hurling Wiffle balls from a makeshift mound, about 1,200 to 1,500 students at the State University of New York (SUNY) at New Paltz participate in the Intramural Program every year.

According to Intramural Program Director Joe Deck, the program has been offered to students by the Athletic & Wellness Center since the 1960s and continues to expand every semester. Currently, students have the chance to participate in 32 events and tournaments during the fall and spring semesters, with sports ranging from flag football games, soccer games and ping pong, racquetball, badminton and poker tournaments.

Deck said that while many of the students who participate in the tournaments are varsity athletes looking to stay in shape between seasons, he feels the program appeals to different types of students who may not have time to join a team.

“Intramurals appeal to those students who want to meet new people and have fun,” he said. “It does not involve the commitment of practices and allows you to focus on your academics more.”

Program offerings are advertised in areas of high student traffic, such as near classroom buildings, Hasbrouck Dining Hall and the Student Union. This semester, a Facebook fan page was also created to further encourage participation.

Athletics Director Keith Kenney said the addition of Deck as a director has been extremely helpful in the promotion of the program.

“Intramurals really have taken off the last two years since I hired Joe Deck to run this program. The program never had a dedicated professional staff to it and we hired Joe for this reason,” he said. “He has done an excellent job growing it to the level it’s at now but we of course are always looking for Intramurals as well as all of our Wellness & Recreation programs to keep growing and expanding.”

Deck said that for sign ups, teams register to play the sport they are interested in. At that point, depending on the number of teams that register, leagues are organized.  Men’s, Women’s and Coed leagues are offered. Teams play once or twice a week for six to seven regular season games, then they have one week of playoffs until a champion is crowned.

Second-year anthropology major Liz Clough, who has played in hockey and tennis tournaments, said the way the program set up creates an enjoyable atmosphere that keeps bringing her and her friends back for more.

“It is pretty organized without being too serious,” she said. “It’s all about having fun.”

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Julie Mansmann

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