Intramural basketball and soccer expand the sports community

basketball players
Players from different teams and grades come together to practice for the upcoming intramural season in the Rush Gymnasium at Occidental Campus in Los Angeles, CA. Oct. 6, 2022. Jean Meyer/The Occidental

For the 2022 fall season, 5v5 basketball and soccer are offered as recreational, intramural sports options. For those who still want to join intramural sports, registration is open until Nov. 1, though the season has already started and runs until Nov. 20th. Spots for new teams are available for soccer, and teams in both soccer and basketball are looking for free agents, according to the intramural league website.According to Lukas West (first year) the intramural sports system is entirely student-led, making it easy for new players to join. West said he is a part of the basketball team “Poole Party,” which is an entirely first-year team.

“We put together teams, or you could join as a free agent, but basically start a team with your friends, and you play against other teams that have been made,” West said.

lukas west
Lukas West (first year) at the Marketplace at Occidental Campus in Los Angeles, CA. Oct. 4, 2022. Jean Meyer/The Occidental

According to West, not only does intramural basketball provide a space to play the sport, but it’s also a way to meet people, especially those with shared interests.

“I’m not very good at basketball, but I love basketball,” West said. “I’m very competitive as a person, so I feel like this is a great way for me to compete with others.”

According to Patrick Connolly (junior), the games vary in intensity based on the matchups.

“Sometimes games can get pretty competitive — definitely chippy, sometimes a bit rough, but that’s expected,” Connolly said.

Albert Lim (senior) said that there’s a strong sense of community within the intramural sports program. Lim said he participates in intramural basketball and has been part of the team “Albert Squad” on-and-off since his first year.

“It’s nice because on our team, we have a lot of different people,” said Lim. “Some of us hang out outside of intramurals, and some of us do not. It’s a way to get along with different people under a shared interest from one sport.”

Albert Lim (senior) in the quad at Occidental Campus in Los Angeles, CA. Oct. 4, 2022. Jean Meyer/The Occidental

According to Connolly, the community can be used as a way to bond with people he already knows, in addition to meeting new people. Connolly said he participates in intramural basketball while also playing for Occidental’s varsity baseball team.

Connolly said he is a part of the intramural basketball team known as “Bye Week,” which is made up of mostly baseball players. According to Connolly, certain varsity sports teams, like the baseball team, use intramurals as a space to bond outside of their main sport. Connolly said his team plays intramural sports during the off-season.

“Being able to spend time with [teammates], bond with them, or do something together is the biggest reward out of that outside of the basketball aspect,” Connolly said.

Patrick Connolly (junior) in the quad at Occidental Campus in Los Angeles, CA. Oct. 4, 2022. Jean Meyer/The Occidental

According to West, intramural sports do not have coaches in charge of the teams, so the players can organize their own schedules. West said that intramural players can be found in the gym holding informal practices almost every night in preparation for their Sunday games.

“We only have organized games, but if your team wants to, they can practice,” West said.

Connolly said that he would enjoy seeing more fans at the Rush Gymnasium to support the basketball players.

“The gym is always open — not exactly stadium seating, but there certainly are places to watch,” Connolly said. “Surely if people want to come out, that would be fantastic.”

Intramural soccer has matches every Sunday; they occur at 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. at Jack Kemp Stadium, according to the Occidental College intramural league website. Intramural basketball games also take place every Sunday night, with games occurring at 5 p.m., 6 p.m. and 7 p.m., and students are welcome to spectate.

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