Sports at St. Mike’s and why YOU should get involved
Ben Denomme SPORTS EDITOR
The University of Toronto is a big place, and at times, the sheer amount of people on campus can be daunting. With over 86,000 students at the school reported in 2015, and class sizes sometimes entering the thousands, beginning and maintaining new relationships can be difficult.
Fortunately, there are ways to split the massive entity that is U of T and to form groups where common interests are shared and friendships are made. One of these ways is through the world of intramural sports.
The University of St. Michael’s College (USMC) is one of seven colleges that competes in intramural sports, along with professional faculties like Dentistry and Rotman Commerce. While some sports are split up into two seasons, others are played year-round.
Sports like basketball, soccer, and hockey are all available to be played. The full list of available sports and St. Mike’s affiliated teams is on the website imleagues.com. This website informs you of the dates and times of games, allows you to contact captains, and join teams. Sports are split up into leagues of men, women, and even co-ed.
Having played rugby for St. Mike’s for my first two years at U of T, I can attest to the benefits of being involved in intramural sports. They are a valuable and worthwhile exercise for many reasons. On one hand, they are a great way to meet people outside of your program and year. Intramural sports are open to everyone who wants to play, meaning that you will meet people who you may not have had the opportunity to meet just by going to classes. The relationships garnered through sports are some of the strongest, mainly because you’re working as a team to achieve a goal. Also, there are usually opportunities outside of games and practices to go out with the team, furthering the social opportunity that comes with being involved in intramural sports.
On the other hand, the physical aspect of intramural sports is not to be overlooked. All the intramural sports require effort and physical exertion, running being a large component of most sports. Rugby was a combination of running as quickly as possible while also being able to efficiently tackle (or avoid being tackled). Coming into university I was in bad shape, so rugby became a way to force me into running at least twice a week and focus on getting stronger. I am proud to say that I lost a lot of weight in my first year of rugby, and got stronger at the same time.
Finally, sports and physical activities are an excellent way to reduce stress and gain focus. Regardless of the specific skills gained through playing the sport itself like hand-eye coordination, speed, or strength, there is the general benefit of letting off steam in a positive and healthy way. School will get difficult and at some points, extremely stressful. If there is no outlet for the stress, mental health issues can arise and have negative effects. Intramural sports will be there to relieve this stress and allow you to work through the difficulty of school healthily.
The benefits of intramural sports are several, and the only way to take advantage of these benefits is to go out and get involved. Intramurals are among the best ways to get involved at U of T, as well as to meet people you would not otherwise have met. It is a good way to make life-long friends and to have fun at the same time. All skill levels are welcome, and there are no disadvantages to playing, so why not join?