Sports of all sorts are currently underway and intramural season is about to begin in earnest, with students of all athletic abilities lacing up their sneakers for some good natured fun. Soccer (football) is the most popular sport in the universe, and Vassar is no exception. According to life fitness director Roman Czula, soccer leads the intramural participation ranks along with volleyball and softball. He shared, “Intramurals are a way for everyone who is not a varsity athlete to compete in sports they love but either don’t want to or can’t make the commitment to varsity team. It also brings together all members of the Vassar community including faculty, staff, administrators and families in a fun athletic setting. It is a great way to keep in shape and get some stress relief, which we all need in some form.”
Mr. Czula loves this part of his responsibilities at Vassar, stating, “The best thing about any of our intramurals is to just to see 10 or 15 people running around a field or court enjoying a sport they love. I am not sure whether I enjoy IM soccer in Walker or out on Joss field more, but they are both fun to watch.” Whatever the motivation, students can find a common ground in their playing ground of choice, channeling their energy through a physical medium in conjunction with teammates pursuing the ultimate accomplishment, placing the ball into the net whether through force or craft.
Intramurals are about enjoyment, with opportunities for learners and experienced practitioners alike. Senior Nate Gorlin-Crenshaw is gearing up for his second season of IM soccer and shared how his previous soccer experience has helped him, as well as what goals he is pursuing this time around. “I played for the Panthers when I was 8. I got hit by the ball a lot so I’m still a little flinchy. On the whole, I’m going to avoid using my hands. Other than that, my main challenge will be mostly trying to kick the ball in the direction I want it to travel. That and tripping over the ball, my feet, other people’s feet, that sort of thing. Our team has a few potential mascots lined up, so with luck they can serve as a diversion if we get into a tight spot.”
Team names often demonstrate Vassar students’ ample (or lacking) creativity, with some of this season’s sample named “Pallet Town FC,” “Left Trigger Right Stick,” and the “Cream Strikers.” Gorlin-Crenshaw plays for the Cream Strikers, a name that represents, according to him, “Free association and a healthy appreciation for innuendo.”
Vassar alumnus and formerly very active IM soccer player Nathaniel Leach ’12 was more than happy to reminisce about that time. “Not playing [IMs] wasn’t really an option, but playing at the varsity level required a lot more time and energy than I was willing to give it, and as an accomplished apathetic, the relaxed style of IM play was right up my alley. Just as a lazy person, I’ve always played economically. I dislike moving more than I have to, so I try to being the right place. As a corollary, I am very good at getting the ball to where it should be. In terms of the more fun parts of the game, I can also kick the ball very hard, and I have been known to rainbow unsuspecting humans.”
Leach and Roman agree that the hardest part about IMs is scheduling. “The toughest thing about organizing soccer or any of the intramural sports is trying to match up a facility with the day and time that all members of two teams can get together to play. That is not as easy as it sounds and it is the constant challenge for any IM director,” shared Czula, while Leach opined that the only change he would have made to his IM career was the difficulty in setting up matches, “I would get an email the night before a game and it’s hard to coordinate with little advance warning. This contributed to lots of no shows and made the prospect of actually playing games a crapshoot.” This issue is mediated by more people participating, so sign up!