Endangered Intramurals

By: Leo Morton

As a school with a unique three-season athletic requirement, sports are important to Gilman’s culture, but not everyone is an interscholastic athlete. Intramurals are an alternative to interscholastic sports that fulfill a student's athletic obligation, and provide a break in Gilman’s rigorous academic schedule. The importance of intramurals could not be overstated, as Assistant Athletic Director Mr. Bob Smith said, “If we didn’t have intramurals, we would have to switch the philosophical approach of the founders of Gilman to a physical education program.” In recent years, however, traditional intramurals are threatened, with many shutting down due to a lack of faculty or student participation.

Non-athletic intramurals, such as theatre tech or Greyhound TV, fulfill the athletic requirement without being traditionally “athletic,” while the out of school option allows athletes to go off campus for a personal trainer or to play a sport not offered at Gilman. As these non-athletic and out of school intramurals become an increasingly popular option among students, classic intramurals are becoming an endangered species. This year, the average participation between the three seasons in intramurals was 219 people. Of these, 84 people, a staggering 38% of participants, either did out of school or non-athletic activities. Both alternative options have their own pros and cons associated with them. For example, while the out of school option could be beneficial for an athlete's career, it separates them from the Gilman community, and causes them to lose an opportunity to bond with classmates.  

One such endangered intramurals is cricket, led by Mr. Tim Lauer. Cricket has been a small intramural since its beginning, and has had a hard time attracting a large group of students because not many people are familiar with the sport and there are a limited number of intramural participants. However, the relatively small size of his intramural doesn’t seem to bother Mr. Lauer. When asked how he felt about the rise of alternative intramurals, he said, “I appreciate the fact that gilman offers an opportunity to for the boys actively engage after they leave the classroom so anyway that they can do that in an exciting way for the boys, I'm pretty excited about myself.” This reflects the central idea of intramurals: to keep Gilman students active and doing something that they enjoy.

The whole purpose of the three season athletic requirement is to allow Gilman students to develop the mind, body, and spirit. If students can complete their athletic obligation without developing their body, is Gilman really fulfilling its duty to cultivate a well rounded individual? On the other hand, the addition of alternate intramurals also allows for the cultivation of other student interests. The out of school option still helps the student to develop athletically even if Gilman does not offer a sport in which they are interested, while the non-athletic options allow a student to develop their creativity or serve their community. Collectively, out of school and non-athletic intramurals allow a student to pursue their own interests outside of what Gilman athletics can offer. The rise of these alternative intramurals expands options for students, but loosens connections within the community. Whether you like it or not, this could be the beginning of a new era in Gilman intramurals.