Finding opportunities to play sanctioned team sports has been challenging this semester, but as the semester comes to close, intramural soccer playoffs are providing students opportunities to bring some competitive spirit.
During the fall semester, Bowdoin was only able to offer one team intramural: badminton, a sport that allows for social distancing. This semester, however, given the warmer weather and the campus community’s strict adherence to the testing protocol, starting in April the College was able to offer a framework for short, 25-minute soccer matches to take place.
“[The intramural soccer program] has allowed students to have a chance to have some fun, have some competition, get some exercise in and be outside with friends,” director of intramurals and head coach of the softball team Ryan Sullivan said in a Zoom interview with the Orient. “I’m hoping that’s been a beneficial experience for the participants.”
About 20 teams of six to eight players signed up to compete this spring. Each team played three to four games on Tuesday and Thursday nights throughout April and into early May.
“It seems like it’s been pretty popular this year,” Marcus Helble ’21 said in a Zoom interview with the Orient. “Definitely on par with other years, if not more popular—and a lot of teams have a lot of people that haven’t played soccer before as well, which is great.”
Many students chose to participate in intramural soccer for the first time this semester because it offered a chance to compete on a team in a time where other such social and casual team opportunities have been lacking. Games have been structured in a six versus six format and are short, at just 25 minutes long.
“One of my best friends was on a team and asked me if I wanted to join, and I was at the point of the semester where work was picking up and I had a bunch of stressors,” Evan Bay ’23, who has not played intramural soccer before this semester, said in a Zoom interview with the Orient. “IM soccer seemed like a really great opportunity to have some structured social time with friends as a break from academics … It’s not really about competition or being super intense. Really, it’s just a great way to have fun for half an hour.”
Nine teams qualified for the playoffs this week, which were held in a series of short 15-minute games that led to a championship game on Tuesday night, which Sons of Zlatan won.
The status of intramural sports remains up in the air for the fall, but Sullivan hopes that the campus will experience a return to the normal schedule.
“We want to run soccer in the fall, and then once the weather gets cooler at the beginning of November, move inside to ice hockey, badminton and three on three basketball like we normally do,” Sullivan said. “In some ways I think that will be very achievable.”
Sullivan also anticipates that a return to normal intramural soccer next fall will also include the offering of more divisions, allowing more teams to participate in playoff games. Even within the current system, however, many students have reported having a wonderful experience.
“I’ve loved it,” Bay said. “It’s been very exciting just to have some fun with a very good group of people. And I’ve never done intramurals before, but I’m definitely going to continue to do intramural soccer in the future. I’m probably going to look into other intramural sports throughout my time at Bowdoin going forward.”