Valenti Voices
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Valenti Voices

Touchdown! Goal! Intramural Sports!

University of Houston students find health and community in recreational athletics

by Pskelly, Franshezca Luna, SheaMadeley, Layne Camp

Intramural Sports on college campuses have been a great way for students to relax and de-stress at the University of Houston.

The University of Houston offers an opportunity for students to participate in competitive events. The Campus Recreation Center offers over 20 different sports and activities every year for both teams and individuals to engage in. The University of Houston is the second most diverse urban research institution in the U.S. Intramural sports offer a great way to bring its students together in a fun and inclusive atmosphere.

“It’s pretty cool how we’re able to see different groups from the school, and it shows how diverse the school is,” flag football player David Hyunh said.

Left: Justin Madeley watches anxiously from the sidelines in the final minutes of his game. Although the game is played with teams of seven on the feild, many teams opt to have additional players to make substitutions. Center: Mitchell Adams, Senior, poses for a photo before his team takes the field. Intramural sports are open to all grade levels. Right: David Hyunh, Junior, warms up his arm before the start of the University of Houston 2019 flag football playoffs. Flag football is one of the most popular intramural sports and a coed option is offered.
Left: Student referee Thomas Evers signals the first touchdown of the night. Intramural sports are completely student lead and creates jobs for students on campus. Center: Equipment for all sports are provided by the university. Intramural sports are offered free of charge to all University of Houston students. Right: Marcus Jackson (left) and David Hyunh (right) line up as wide receivers and wait for the ball to be snapped. Flag football is played in teams of seven with one center and quarterback.
Left: A flag football field is half the size of a regulation football field. However, just like any other football game, the field is marked by yard lines every 10 yards. Right: A defensive player lines get its in position before the ball is snapped. Uniforms are not provided by the university but many teams opt to create custom jerseys to identify their teammates.

College students become too busy balancing schoolwork and personal life to focus on any extracurricular activities. If one is not competitive enough or does not have time to become a full time “varsity team” player, you can choose to be a part of an intramural sport. It is known to be a middle ground where students of all ages and abilities can participate. These students can show that they are just as serious about sports as anyone else.

Many students enjoy intramural sports because there are opportunities for different levels of athleticism to get involved and participate.

“I feel like we are looked down upon because of our appearance,” Hyunh said. But we love the game, and we thrive in non-contact.”

In high school, sports were tremendously important, so much that it often surpassed academics. Moreover, it is surprising how thousands of students here at the University of Houston have abandoned something that was a very large part of their lives once. The U.S. is a sports-loving country. At a young age, kids are sent to different sport practices to encourage constructive entertainment, leadership skills, and produce a higher self-esteem. These same qualities are translated to intramural sports.

Intramural sports are an important avenue for students looking for a community, as well as an opportunity to maintain their physical and mental health.

In a study entitled “Exercise as an Intervention to Reduce Study-Related Fatigue among University Students”, researchers found that over 80% of students reported that exercise helped to reduce emotional exhaustion caused by the stress of classes.

The University of Houston, sports are very significant. For intramural however, it is a very small organization. Not many people know that UH offers other recreational activities. Every semester, the program becomes more and more competitive and more experienced players join. The University organizes the events and provides all the equipment free of charge to the students.

“It’s really cool how it’s organized by the school and it’s free too,” Hyunh said. “In league, there are ref fees to pay and you also have to pay to play.” That’s one of the many great things about intramural sports.

Junior Christian Vazquez participates in indoor soccer. He regularly plays soccer and took part in different sports throughout his high school career, which included but were not limited to, cross country and basketball.

“It’s mostly the passion and history of the sport,” Vazquez said, “It goes back to the 30’s back in the world cup in Uruguay and I feel like it’s a world played sport because it brings different cultures together.”

Intramural sports also help with socializing and meeting new people. Win or lose, at the end of the day there is no opponent, only a fellow team player. These sports also rely on teamwork. The best teams are the ones who come together towards a common goal that has been applied over time. These teams also manage to understand how different skills and personalities can incorporate the best parts of their abilities.

“You see engineering, math, theater, all different kinds of majors come out,” referee Thomas Evers said.

Indoor soccer and outdoor soccer have many differences including the setting and how many people are in each team.

“Indoor is much harder environment to play in because it’s a much smaller space and you have less mobility than outside,” Vazquez said, “I honestly prefer indoor than outside because I don’t get to run long distances so that’s a plus.”

We also got to interview Paul, another soccer player in the same intramural team. Paul has only participated in intramural soccer. He has played both indoor and outdoor, but opposite of Vasquez, he prefers outdoor soccer rather than indoor.

“People’s ankles get broken here [indoor], outdoor is more physical, more running, more tactical,” Paul said, “I think I like outdoor more, but indoor has a special place in my heart.”

Intramural sports have been without a doubt a behind-the-scenes activity on UH campus in recent years. Nevertheless, these sports are seeking more and more players and fresh new students are being more interested in intramurals than ever before.

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Houston, one of the most diverse cities in the U.S., is our home. Like our city, the students at the Valenti School of Communication bring a diverse, unique lens to their field of study. Valenti Voices highlights our students’ voices. Meet the next generation of storytellers.

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