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PSU students jump at athletic opportunity

For the past several years at Portland State, the intramural scene has been nonexistent, but it is back and ready to offer students a taste of what they’ve been missing.

The program is headed up by Malia Guard, who is the official intramurals coordinator and Alex Accetta, who is the advisor for student representatives. Together they have put together a seamless program that is sure to meet the expectations of all.

Some people might think intramurals are a waste of time. If they want to play sports, they can just call up a few buddies and head off to the courts.

However, when most people look to play a pick-up basketball game, for instance, there may be a few problems.

Getting enough people to play can be difficult. Intramurals has you covered. There are already numerous teams that play in the intramurals’ program and even if you don’t know anyone, there is a good chance to meet people and join a team.

Pick-up games are usually played outside and the weather does not always agree. Intramurals provide students with access to the indoor courts where basketball and other sports can be played year-round.

And what happens if a couple players in your pick-up game get angry and start a fight? With no supervision, all you can do is watch it happen and hope that you don’t have to intervene. But intramurals provide referees that keep the intramural games honest and free of violence.

Basketball isn’t the only sport run by intramurals. There is also an indoor soccer league, a volleyball league and during fall term, a flag football league.

Guard is also working on a softball league for this spring. She has all the equipment and now just needs to get students who want to play.

With the booming attendance and sign-up for the intramurals program, most people wouldn’t believe that just last year Portland State had no program of the sort. Guard and Accetta, who started the program from scratch with no previous model to work from, have made huge progress.

“We’re kind of doing it with smoke and mirrors,” Accetta said. “In four months, we have gone from zero to ten teams (soccer league), turning people away (and) organized schedules.”

According to Accetta, there are approximately 180 total students currently involved with the program and that number is expected to grow.

“The growth here should be great,” Accetta said. “It can grow way bigger than I ever imagined.”

For Guard, the work is long and hard but the rewards are great.

“There was nothing out there,” Guard said. “Next year this will be huge.”

As of now, Guard and Accetta are working on raising more money. Increased money would enable them to hire more referees which is the main factor limiting the number of students who can participate.

Besides referees, the intramural program provides balls, courts and numbered jerseys for the basketball teams.

“I wanted to make it really official,” Guard added. “Just shooting the ball around is not quite the same.”

Possibly the most important benefit of the intramurals program is that it costs absolutely nothing to those who want to get involved. All students are required to bring are some sneakers, an open mind and their game.

For more information about the intramurals program, those interested can contact Guard at 503-725-8787, or visit the office located in Room 102 in the basement of the Peter Stott Center.