Intramural sports are back for the spring semester. There are a few of the normal sports that are typically played and a few new ones coming this semester.
The employees at the Joe Frank Sanderson Center have been taking all necessary health precautions and have been doing their best to make everyone feel safe while they participate in intramural sports. Leif Baranow, a junior environmental engineering major from Eagle River, Alaska, is an employee with the intramurals office at the Sanderson Center.
"We take temperatures and ask a list of questions before the students can even walk into their event," Baranow said. "We also make the players wear their masks while playing their sports."
They have even adjusted how they set up each intramural sport, according to Baranow.
"We have limited the number of people in particular sports, so instead of 7v7 football, we have lowered the number of participants to 4v4," Baranow continued. "We also have limited the number of spectators that can watch the game. If it is an outside event, each player playing can have one spectator present. If it is an inside sport, there cannot be any spectators watching the game."
There are certain precautions employees also take behind the scenes to ensure the safety of the participants.
"Before and after each game, we make sure we sanitize the equipment used for the intramural sports," Laci Arnau, a junior business administration major from Hattiesburg, Mississippi, said.
The employees over intramural sports are very optimistic about how they have handled the situation with COVID-19. There is not as much participation, but that does not stop the enthusiasm for the employees running the intramural sports.
"We have not had as much participation as in the past because we have to keep the number of players that participate to a lower amount to keep within the guideline restrictions," Baranow said. "The sports that we do have that are the regular sports and the new sports have had a great turnout and participation even within the pandemic."
COVID-19 has not stopped the efforts to keep these intramural sports open.
"Since we have started our guidelines for each of the intramural sports, we have not had any COVID cases traced back to intramural sports," Arnau said. "Because of this, we will keep up all of our guidelines since it seems to work for the people participating in our events."
Even though there are restrictions, the workers are doing their best to creatively work around these to make it a fun and exciting atmosphere.
"Since we didn't allow spectators, it was kind of quiet and not the same atmosphere as it was before, so to fix this, we started to bring speakers to the games and play music for the players," Arnau said. "The players seemed to respond positively to that. It seemed to have brought some sort of normalcy to the games."
Even though there are a few sports that are not going to be among the list of the normal spring semester sports, the employees have figured out replacements for the players.
"Since we can't have all of the sports that we would normally have available, all of us here have tried to replace it with some new sports such as pickleball and spikeball," Arnau said.
The students are the ones that are mainly affected, but it seems to not stop the excitement for them to play sports with their friends.
"I was nervous if it was going to be different, but the people who run the intramural sports have done a great job to make it as normal as possible," Ethan Kilpatrick, a sophomore computer engineering major from Ocean Springs, Mississippi, said. "At first it was disappointing to not play some of the sports without a full team as normal, but now it does not affect how enthusiastic I am to have the opportunity to go and play the sports, even in the situation we are in."
The employees at the Joe Frank Sanderson Center have been working hard to ensure the safety and fun of participants during intramural sports. Whether it is the workers or the players, the enthusiasm has not died down for the fun of sports.