Normality comes in small doses both at Gustavus and at-large this year, yet where it can be found, it is. Since Oct.19, Gustavus has been hosting the return of intramural sports to campus to provide both a welcome distraction and a healthy outlet for energy. This year, they are meant to encourage active behavior while still being mindful of all the safety measures promoted on campus. Like many things this year, however, intramurals have changed. Rather than team volleyball or soccer, there is the socially distanced thirty-day Walking/Running Challenges or the Trick Shot Challenge both of which began Oct. 19.
Students that sign up to participate in the thirty-Day walk challenge should expect an email after signing up that details a schedule for accomplishing weekly miles. They are given a contact point to send their miles into every week, though the self-reporting operates on an honors system. To benefit the students, included in the email is a series of stretches to do before exercising with links to videos of how to accomplish them. The feedback in the early stages of intramurals return has been mostly positive.
“I’m excited for an opportunity which holds me accountable to my lifelong fitness goals,” Sophomore Astrid Axtman, a participant in the challenge, said.
This sentiment was echoed by Junior Sierra Meyers.
“Intramurals get students out of their room and staying active, while bringing a little bit of joy to their day which can be very important during stressful times such as these,” Meyers said.
Should walking or running not be your desired indulgence, the Trick Shot Challenge offers a fun activity to try out with friends. After signing up, you will receive a contact to submit a video of your trick shot to; just don’t forget to give a double thumbs up or shout “Go Gusties” before performing your trick shot. The videos submitted will be evaluated by both social media likes and the Intramural committee and receive a prize at the end of the two-week interval.
“Friends collaborate while maintaining social distance. This allows students to have fun with their friends and get a little activity while having fun and staying safe,” Meyers said.
While maintaining social distance rules you may still participate in this intramural activity as a fun activity with friends.
Despite the benefits of the return of intramurals, there are some doubts about the success that these intramural activities will have compared to what was available in previous years. Both challenges presented to the Gustavus student body are more individually oriented than group activities whereas the team effort and camaraderie of previous intramural sports were some of the biggest draws. Many Gusties may prefer to exercise their own prerogative rather than on an intramural schedule. The Intramural committee appears to have considered this and offers incentives to join intramurals, like prizes detailed in the original school wide invitation.
“One benefit of this year specifically is that we will have all new and exciting activities for students to participate in,” Meyers said.
One has to remember though, that the ultimate goal of intramurals this year, like many other on-campus activities, is not to be a carbon copy of last year. Nothing can be. The return of intramurals offers instead a way to return to a sense of normalcy without compromising security. Intramurals represent, in a small way, our campus’ ability to adapt to the changing times.
They also display, in turn, the innovative spirit of Gustavus students and faculty. Even in times of stress, hardship and uncertainty, we will find a way to encourage each other and try new things together. Should these activities interest you or you have the urge to try something new to stave off monotony, the next round of the running/walking challenge begins Nov. 20 (with registration from Nov. 1 to the 19) and the second week of trick shot challenges starts Nov. 2.