The University’s Intramural Sports Program is making a comeback to its traditional format this year after a few semesters were largely impacted by COVID-19 and the restrictions that went along with the pandemic.
“The Intramural Sports Program is dedicated to fostering a fun, safe environment for the Villanova Community to compete in a variety of sports through proficiently organized leagues, tournaments and one-day events,” according to the Villanova Recreation webpage.
“We fully intend to have the same offerings that we had in 2018-2019 and 2019-2020 before being sent home in the spring semester prematurely,” said Michael Hay, University Aquatics, Intramural and Recreation Coordinator.
The plan is to offer the full slate of traditional sports this year. That means there will be sand volleyball, flag football, soccer, volleyball, dodgeball, basketball, handball, indoor soccer, softball, tennis and ultimate frisbee, along with consideration for some additional tournaments too.
This time last year, the program was able to offer some alternative programs, including yard games that allowed for outdoor play and social distancing. After Easter, some other options were available, such as softball, tennis and outdoor basketball, with participants wearing masks.
“It was definitely a huge adjustment moving from high energy sports to yard games,” senior and Intramural Commissioner Matt Golonka said. “As much as I love Kan Jam, I’m excited to get back to our normal slate of offerings so underclassmen can enjoy our regular sports too.”
Katie Canning is another senior and Intramural Commissioner alongside Golonka and Kolin Thievon, and she feels similarly.
“This year, I am definitely most excited to be able to once again offer all of our sports at full capacity,” Canning said. “While we made the most of our entirely outdoor seasons last year, it will be exciting to return to what we know and love.”
A common sentiment from students is that the community and atmosphere of intramural sports are the best parts.
“My favorite part of intramurals is that they provide a fun yet competitive atmosphere for students like me who want to stick with their high school sport but don’t have the time to commit to a club team,” junior Matt O’Donnell said. “I also enjoy that Villanova offers different leagues that are inclusive to everyone. The coed teams are equally challenging and allow me to play and have fun with all of my friends, not just the guys.”
Besides being on staff, Canning said her favorite part of the program is “getting to know other Villanova students and watching them compete week after week. It’s a really special organization, in that we interact with and run leagues for about 2,000 students every single week. No other student-run organization does so, which I believe is a testament to how hardworking and enthusiastic our staff is.”
Sign-ups for sand volleyball, flag football and soccer took place from Aug. 30 to Sept. 2, and registration for the remaining sports will take place throughout the year as the starts of the various seasons get closer. Additional information can be found on the Intramural Registration page on the University’s Recreation website.
Looking ahead, Hay said that he is hopeful that they will be able “to have these offerings without any additional restrictions or safety precautions,” but no one can be truly sure what “unforeseen restrictions or protocols may affect our intention to offer these sports.”
Finally, the Intramural Program hopes to increase participation in the area of Esports as it is planning on continuing to provide and refine these offerings too. The Recreation website will provide details on Esports as soon as they become available.