Despite its popularity today, Vassar College’s Intramural program has grown tremendously from its presence on campus just a few years ago. Looking at the department, there are two huge reasons for its growth. The first is the arrival of current Assistant Athletics Director for Sports and Recreation Mike Callahan. Callahan has been an integral part of the program’s continued growth as he continues to oversee and add to the various offerings Vassar has under its Intramural program. The second has been student involvement and interest. Without student participation and voices, the IM program would have a hard time continuing to progress. With their help, Callahan has been able to help the college provide an active outlet that is incredibly important for students with immense course loads and out of class commitments. For many athletes, their sports provide not only a sense of camaraderie with teammates working towards the same goal but also a much needed physical stress release. In extending the IM program, Callahan is opening that same possibility to a greater number of students in a way that allows their competitiveness to shine.
Callahan outlined a few of his original goals when he was hired last year. “My main objective for the Vassar IM program was to increase our offerings and participation rates. All of our programs have grown in the short time I have been here and our participation rates have increased significantly. We have also offered new IM sports in my time here such as Kickball and Floor Hockey. We have reached our initial goals but we still have a lot more we want to accomplish for the future,” he stated.
Senior Elijah Mondesir, who works with Callahan in IMs, has been a familiar face in Vassar’s pickup basketball community for many years. He’s been a constant competitor and is part of the current reigning Vassar IM champion team.
Mondesir explained why he is so supportive of Vassar’s IM program and what it provides students. “Since I played high school basketball and enjoyed it very much, I like that IM provides competitive and organized play without the full commitment of a varsity sport. Some people like to be a little more competitive than what general pickup basketball offers but not as serious as a Varsity game. IMs provide that middle ground for serious play as well as individuals who would just like to have fun with their friends as well.”
Callahan gave some background into what’s made basketball as well as all the IM programs so successful recently. “Just like all of our other programs, the reason that basketball is successful is because we have organized, structured leagues and tournaments that are fun. Plus the winner receives a championship T-shirt which is always a great perk,” he explained.
Sophomore David Won, another familiar face in the pickup and IM basketball community, is certainly a fan of the championship shirts and cited it as his favorite part of participating. “I like getting t-shirts when I win,” he added.
This Saturday, the IM program will offer another 3-on-3 tournament in which student teams can participate in order to try and win another one of those t-shirts Callahan mentioned. But beyond student participation, IMs are also open to Vassar College staff and faculty as well. With dwindling numbers at last year’s Student-Faculty basketball game, perhaps this is another way for more and more of the Vassar College community to engage with one another on the court.
Callahan looked back on how the IM Basketball program has emerged during his time here, explaining, “We have had two 3 on 3 tournaments in my time here and one 5 on 5 basketball league. We will be having another 5 on 5-basketball league after Spring Break. In my time here we have had about 70-80 students and staff participate in IM Basketball. I expect that number to grow.”
Mondesir has seen how Callahan’s work and enthusiasm has positively impacted the program. “Before Mr. Callahan, there was no IM Basketball, honestly there were no IMs period. He’s turned Vassar from zero percent participation to I think about 500-600 students or more that take part in the various sports he offers.”
Currently, the largest IM on campus is the Soccer program. Along with basketball, it is be two of the IM sports that Callahan is currently looking to engage with other schools in competition. Callahan outlined the current state of competition between Vassar and others schools: “At this moment there has not been competition against other schools but we are looking into it in the future for Basketball and Soccer at the moment. Nothing is set in stone yet but I am exploring that option.”
Mondesir couldn’t be happier about this development as he outlined it as his main hope for IMs future at Vassar. “I hope IMs grows to the point where we are taking on other schools in the New York area. If I’m correct I believe he’s supposed to be bringing DI IONA to play against us in the spring if everything works out perfectly.” Won mainly hopes for increased participation. “[IM Basketball] was pretty well organized when I was playing last year, but it would be pretty fun if there were more people playing!” he urged.
With more offerings and increased participation, IMs at Vassar look to keep progressing. With the dynamic state of the program and the structure and guidance Callahan and student leaders like Mondesir provide, it looks to continue becoming a more important and utilized resource on campus. Callahan offered a final statement: “What I want the students to know about the IM program is that we offer many different programs and we are open to new ideas for offerings. My door is always open. This is a growing program and we are here to serve the students and the whole Vassar Community.”