For the Love of the Game

The Recreational Sports Intramural Sports program has undergone many changes in the past 105 years. From new sports being added to new divisions being created, the program has gotten bigger, better, more diverse, and looks very different than it did in 1916.

UT Recreational Sports
Jun 28 · 9 min read

We’ve asked players from throughout the decades to recount their experiences to show that despite the changes over time, the players’ commitment to the core values of the program has remained a constant.

Joe Bill Watkins

BA ’65, JD ‘68

Tell us about your favorite experiences? First time I jumped into the pool
for water basketball with no prior experience and almost drowned (but we beat the Phi Delts and went on to win the first of many championships in water basketball in a row). Winning All-University Basketball on the floor of Gregory Gym playing the full varsity court.

Why should students continue to play IMs?
Brought into sharper focus the lesson that teamwork produces more success than individual “me” attitudes. I believe that students who have a regular exercise program will not only live better, longer, but will do better at UT academically because they will feel better physically and mentally.

John Angell

BA ’70, JD ‘73

Tell us about your favorite experience? Winning the Class A Volleyball Championship. It was a great match, with two games taking two hours (before rally scoring) and both games going into overtime. Final score was 18–16 and 17–15.

What are some of the leadership skills you learned while participating in IMs? As a team leader over an organization that participated in everything, you had to learn organizational skills. Then in my career that spanned 42 years and always included a supervisory or management role, organizational skills were vital as a leader.

What’s a piece of advice you’d give to a current student participating in IMs? The most important advice is to have fun and enjoy the experience. Then be aware of the opportunities intramurals will afford you that you can utilize the rest of your life.

Ann Brodnax

BA ’78

How did participating in IMs impact your social life? I had a super fun social life in my sorority, Pi Beta Phi. Intramural sports expanded the comradery with the friends made in Pi Beta Phi as well as with others I knew from high school and those met in the intramural competitions.

How did the competition impact the program? Every participant chose to be there. It was contagious how much everyone enjoyed the competition. A supercharged atmosphere!

Why should students continue to play IMs? To truly appreciate the efforts of those that came before us that were inspired to create programs that we prospered and grew from. To help perpetuate this over 100-year amazing program. To share in the continuation of it and to give to it is an absolute privilege. Just going on campus and seeing the huge numbers of students enjoying their free time in such a healthy way is very inspiring!

Stephanie DeMunbrun

BA ’82

Tell us about your favorite experience? One of my favorite memories was actually as a spectator, believe it or not. Freshman year, we met a group of guys that had formed the “Untouchables” and their goal was to play every IM sport there was regardless if they knew how to play it. You can imagine how much fun we had watching them play water polo when some could barely swim!

What are some of your favorite or most memorable experiences meeting people? As it turns out, I met my future husband (Frank Garcia) through mutual friends in intramurals! The friends we made in IMs are to this day, some of the same friends with whom we share our good times and our struggles. A favorite experience that happened regularly through intramurals was randomly reuniting with high school friends and even high school opponents that would become our friends in college! We know they will always be there for us and they are priceless!

How was it playing IMs with your sisters? It totally allowed us to remain close during a busy time that otherwise would have been difficult to do. I’m pleading the 5th on who was the better competitor because I want to REMAIN close to my sisters!

Lewis Wright

BBA ’86

Tell us about your favorite experience? The most memorable is the first basketball championship game that was won — it followed a loss in the previous year's championship game and will always be a special memorable moment for myself and the team.

Why is it important to keep the tradition of IMs alive? I felt privileged to attend a university that had such a historic intramural program. The program became a defining positive characteristic of my college experience as a player, a coach, and as an official.

What’s a piece of advice you’d give to a current student participating in IMs? Give it all you got! You are young and able! If you do, you will remain competitive and will transfer the competitive drive into important life skills. Make some memories!

Jamey Newberg

BA ’91, JD ‘94

Tell us about your favorite experience? Competing. Competing with friends. Competing against friends. It was a great way to decompress. Winning didn’t hurt.

How do the teamwork skills you developed playing IMs help you today? The concept of “team” has always been important to me. It fueled me growing up, I was able to maintain it at UT (resident assistant, law school journal editor, tons of IM experiences), and it shows up in my line of work today as well as in opportunities I’ve had to help coach our kids.

What’s a piece of advice you’d give to a current student participating in IMs? Do it and soak it in. You’ll miss it one day.

Nicole Brown

BA ‘95

Tell us about your favorite experience? The best part of intramurals was the intramural office. My best memories are when we would all go there between classes and just talk. It felt like I belonged somewhere on such an enormous campus.

Why is it important for current students to build relationships with others while at school? Students at UT need that safe space we had when we were there. This year showed us that social conversations in person really mean so much and affect us like we just don’t realize. Those relationships and conversations prepare us to go into our jobs and treat people well and be leaders. We learn to be kind and how to value the importance of each friendship.

How do you feel seeing your daughter want to follow in your IM footsteps? It is so amazing that she will get to be up in that wall of fame! The best is that she is doing it in the one sport Howard and I could not do…soccer skills! It is one of those conversations that she calls and loves to talk about who she played and who they beat and how the Legal Eagles still win all the time. She has so much fun and her voice lights up when she talks about intramurals. It was such a huge part of our lives and now she is getting to enjoy it too. It became her goal to get a championship shirt and get up in that wall!

Daniel Rincones

BS ‘06

Why is the Wall of Fame so important? It’s special. One day I plan to take my son and daughter to Gregory Gym and show them the photos of my time at The University of Texas. Should my kids be able to attend UT, I hope they, too, will get have their photo up on the Wall of Fame.

Why should students continue to play IMs? The relationships that I forged while playing IM sports are some of the strongest from my time at The University of Texas. Even now, some 15 plus years later, when I see or talk to my old IM teammates, it is like we picked up right where we left off.

Michael “Pops” Morales

BS ‘12

Tell us about your favorite experience? In 2018, we got to play a flag football championship game at DKR. It was so cool to be on that field under the lights. That is something that I will never forget.

Why is competition an important aspect of the IM experience? I think it’s good for people to learn how to deal with adversity in their day-to-day lives. In IM sports sometimes you’re up and sometimes you’re down, but you have to keep playing till the end of the game. You’ll have ups and downs in your professional life, too, but you have to keep doing your job if you want to continue making a living.

Do you remember when you won your Intramural Champion shirt? I was very excited when I won my first championship shirt. It was in the 4x4 flag football tournament in spring 2008. I remember feeling very proud because we beat some really good teams.

Amy Le

BS ‘18

Can you tell us about a time when teamwork helped your IM team
win?
Teamwork means everything, especially in soccer. If your team is not cohesive, you stand no chance. We were always willing to pick each other up during each game. Everyone was positive and willing to work hard, and we were able to get it done as a result.

How do the teamwork skills you developed playing IMs help you today? My communication skills have increased dramatically. If you’ve ever been to the intramural fields, I’m sure you can hear me from anywhere on the field. I am loud.

What will you remember most when you look back in 25 years? The people. Anyone who has ever been my teammate holds a special place in my heart. It’s awesome to be on a team and work towards the common goal of winning. It bonds people quickly. I’ve lost way more championships than I’ve won, but I would never trade the experience for anything else.

Niko Papageorge

BS ‘18

Tell us about your favorite experience? My sophomore year, my team won the coed soccer league in the fall, and it was an incredible experience. I remember having an asthma attack after the game because I ran so much, and it was the hardest I had competed in a very long time. It was an unreal feeling to win the final, especially with all of my best friends.

Tell us about the meaningful relationships you’ve built? I have met some really cool people throughout my IM career, and a lot of those relationships still hold strong today. I even met my girlfriend through IM sports! You and the people you play with become better friends because you all have a common goal when playing. Win or lose, you guys are still friends and you still competed together.

Why do you think maintaining the traditions of IMs are important? To inspire students to play IMs, and maybe solidify a place for their name on the wall. Keeping Intramural sports helps students stay active, build camaraderie, and be more involved with the school in general.

Inside RecSports Spring/Summer 2021

Inside RecSports is your connection to all things UT Intramurals and Recreational Sports.

Inside RecSports Spring/Summer 2021

The Recreational Sports Intramural Sports program has undergone many changes in the past 105 years. We’ve asked players from throughout the decades to recount their experiences to show that the players’ commitment to the core values of the program has remained a constant.

UT Recreational Sports

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Education through recreation. Est. 1916. | The University of Texas at Austin

Inside RecSports Spring/Summer 2021

The Recreational Sports Intramural Sports program has undergone many changes in the past 105 years. We’ve asked players from throughout the decades to recount their experiences to show that the players’ commitment to the core values of the program has remained a constant.