The Return of Intramurals

The Golden Gymnasium on campus. Photo by Lauren O'Brien.

Developing a healthy lifestyle is a desire of many college students. But how can such a busy group of people, balancing academics and social life, find the motivation to exercise? Thankfully, Point Loma Nazarene Univeristy’s Intramural Department offers many sports and activities to aid their students in finding the motivation to achieve their goals.

Last fall, all leagues and group activity classes hosted by the university’s Intramural Department were suspended due to concerns over the close contact of students. During the spring semester, COVID-19 restrictions loosened and offered leagues in which students could participate .

At the start of the 2021-2022 school year, PLNU is fully operational and open. The intramural department now offers students access to all designated indoor facilities and locations across campus.

Alisa Ward is the director of intramurals at PLNU and a professor in the kinesiology department. Her research interests include topics like promotion of health and wellness, exercise motivation, high intensity interval training, and the why behind the many choices we make. Via an email interview with The Point, Ward admits that exercise is not something that comes easy for everyone. She shares that some students are motivated by competition, while others are motivated by social happenings, health conscientiousness, or learning a new skill.

“Research shows that for us to really adhere to exercise we need to be intrinsically motivated by the health and wellness benefits, not just doing it because we are being told to do it… people need to find their own reasons why they are motivated,” Ward said.

James Adams, sophomore applied health science major is a part of PLNU’s intramural staff. Of the more than nine hours he works for the department, he oversees the weight shed two days a week and co-directs the softball league.

“In general, especially in the college setting, it is rare to see individuals engaging in exercise for the sake of pure exercise. In my experience, it is all the great things that are inherently tied to the many forms of exercise that keeps individuals, especially students, returning to physical activity as a part of their daily routines,” Adams said 

Apart from offering motivation to exercise, Ward says intramurals bring aid to student’s physical and mental health.

“When we were in semi-quarantine this past fall and this past spring, so many students felt that they were actually alive and well because they were able to go outside and play sand volleyball, basketball, or workout at the weight shed,” Ward said.

Ward adds that the program brings value for students who were high school athletes.

“Being able to participate in intramurals allows those to continue figuring out their new identity as a college student who is not practicing 5-7 days a week.”

Another staff member of the PLNU’s intramural team is applied health science major Nathan Shoup. He holds a handful of positions within the program, including ultimate frisbee league director, supervisor of the weight shed, and co-director of open gym hours held at PLNU’s Golden Gymnasium.

Shoup became interested in being a part of the intramural team his freshman year after interacting with former staff members at the weight shed and participating in the 3-on-3  basketball league.

“The amazing people and positivity on the staff team are what really gravitated me toward becoming a part of the intramural family,” Shoup said.

Rachel Rodrigues, sophomore elementary education major is a participant of the softball intramural teams at PLNU. She started softball hesitantly her freshman year of high school and continued with the sport the following three years, which stemmed her interest in joining a team at PLNU.

“When I created my very first softball team last Spring with no recruits, I just knew it was such a great opportunity to connect with different people whether they played softball or not.” Rodrigues shares.

Rodrigues sees the offering of many sports as a great way to stay active, learn team dynamics, and build community with new peers.

“It is also a great way to take a break from our crazy lives and [to] have fun. Staying motivated to be active can be pretty hard as a full time student, but I often see those making an effort to take a break and get out and be active” Rodrigues says.

Located on the west end of the track, the weight shed is available Monday through Friday from 3-5 p.m. for students interested in using weights, circuit training, Crossfit, and other workouts. Open gym is held at the Golden Gym and is open from 7-11 p.m. Sundays through Thursdays with the exception of whenever home games are being held in the facility. More information on what intramurals PLNU has to offer can be found here.

By: Katie Morris