Intramural sports provide a place for students to play volleyball, soccer and basketball in a friendly setting.
By Molly Wilson
Coach Chris McKelvie never played intramural sports at Bemidji State because he was too busy playing Division I hockey, but when he came to Bethel University to be the men’s hockey coach, running the recreation leagues was a part of the job description.
“For me to do rec sports, the biggest thing is that I get to work with other students on campus,” McKelvie said. “I’m not just working with hockey players. A lot of times soccer players will be our rec sports student supervisors or referees.”
Numbers have been down in the last few years because of COVID-19, but they are slowly rising and McKelvie is optimistic about them returning to normal soon. Students athletes and novices alike fill the rosters.
“Community that comes through intramural sports is a really good thing. Whether you’re sharing a meal together or you’re doing something where you sweat together, it just enhances community,” McKelvie said.
Nelson Hall residents sat by the sidelines holding signs made of Welch’s fruit snack boxes encouraging freshmen Ryan Schulz and Amelia Wright as they played for the Loki Legends.
Wright’s name was stuck to the sign on blue Post-it Notes. She was asked to play last minute as a walk-on.
“They didn’t have enough people, and Ryan asked if anyone played volleyball,” Wright said. “And I had played it before, just with friends.”
Loki Legends is named after the Marvel character originally introduced in the Thor movies. The team also chose this name because while they might not be the best, they are still “lowkey legends.” Each player sports a T-shirt with a custom team logo designed by Spencer Vang, one of the team members.
Games are played every Tuesday and Thursday from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m. in the Sports and Recreation Center. Students can come sit on the sidelines and cheer for their favorite teams.
At intramural soccer, laughs and wheezes add to the constant sound of the blue and green soccer balls hitting the ground.
Half of the SRC is surrounded by a blue partition to prevent balls from rolling away. Every once in a while, though, a player is forced to run through the one-foot gaps in the corners.
“I haven’t played [soccer] since fifth grade,” freshman chemistry major Aliya Johnson said.
Teams are distinguished between the different colors of their shirts. Injury Reserve, in white, plays on one of the courts. Tonight, Johnson is acting as their captain instead of Deborah Iranezereza.
The league currently consists of only four teams, but McKelvie hopes to triple its size for the spring season.
Once cell phone timers go off, marking the end of the games, teams pile into their cars to spend some time bonding off the field, awaiting next Sunday when the process starts all over again.
Basketball, Pickleball and Broomball
Basketball started Oct. 25 and runs on Wednesday nights from 9 p.m.to 11 p.m. There is currently only enough interest for a men’s competitive league with the potential for a co-ed rec league.
“We have three or four teams in the rec league. They’re trying to decide what to do so we can actually have a good season,” McKelvie said.
Pickleball is new to Bethel and will be offered in the spring. It is a combination of tennis and ping pong played on a smaller court with a plastic ball and wooden paddles.
“It’s kind of a great equalizer because anybody can really play and be competitive in it,” McKelvie said. “I think that makes it really appealing.”
McKelvie wouldn’t be surprised if this coming January is the biggest broomball season in a long time. Broomball is a Bethel tradition and since the COVID-19 pandemic has been around for a while, students are becoming more comfortable with intramural sports.
There will be another volleyball and indoor soccer season in the spring.
“It’s about getting people out of their dorms, out of their houses, doing something together and doing something,” McKelvie said.