No intramural team to count on

W&L students face difficulties with getting teammates to show up to intramural games


Photo courtesy of W&L Sports Info.

Alex Kinzer

Washington and Lee might be an active and fit campus, but picking up a new sport for fun isn’t something easy for students to do.

In addition to the 24 NCAA sport teams and many different club teams, W&L also features seven different intramural athletics seasons. From flag football to volleyball and ultimate frisbee to handball, students of all classes organize teams and compete against other students for championships.

“[Intramurals] give students the opportunity to compete in a fun and inclusive environment without having to dedicate as much time as a varsity or club sport may require,” Athletics director of campus recreation Ray Ellington, who has headed up W&L’s intramural program for nine years, said. “It’s about being active, interaction with peers and healthy stress relief.”

But despite the organization by Greek organizations, both Harrison Westgarth, ’17, and Ronnie Durando, ’16, reported that their teams frequently have to deal with forfeits because students on their team or their opponent’s teams fail to show up for the game.

“[This] happens all the time,” Durando, who serves as the intramural chair for Alpha Delta Pi sorority,   said. “Literally every event. [Competitors not showing up] affects every single match. Whether its people not showing up on my team or whole teams just not showing up as opponents.”

Westgarth believes that people not showing up is part of a cycle.

“People are busy,” he said. “If some people aren’t able to go, then people think, ‘Why don’t we all just not show up?’… if there are just three of us [able to play], we can try but it’s going to be a bad situation for everyone… It’s mostly that if some people can’t go, then the rest of the group will just say ‘Let’s all not go’.”

Students often organize their teams via their Greek organizations.

“[T]he Greek organizations consistently field teams in every sport,” Ellington said. “They enjoy the competition and display great enthusiasm.”

But even playing with sorority brothers or sisters is not incentive enough to actually attend the games scheduled for each team. Durando said that people not showing up makes her job organizing intramural teams difficult.

“It’s tough if I’m trying to get people interested in my sorority… and they just know their opponents won’t take the time to show up so they don’t end up showing up and it’s just this whole fiasco.”

Durando thinks that some changes to the sports offered may gain some support among the student body.

“I think IM should look towards more interest sports that maybe would draw people in because they don’t have that much opportunity to play them,” she said. Durando offered dodgeball as an example of an interest sport already offered at W&L.

Durando also thinks that a change in how intramurals are played could be helpful.

“There’s just some sort of aspect of a game that brings people together in this competitive but harmonious way,” she said. “If we could have men and women’s teams that would be awesome, too… Can’t these teams be coed? Because that would be a great way to try and ease the gender gap here.”

In response to Westgarth’s suggestion to add water polo, Ellington said that adding aquatic sports may not be out of the question.

“I try to offer/add sports each year that the students want the most,” Ellington said. “There may be an opportunity to expand what we offer from an aquatic standpoint once the natatorium opens.