Supervisors keep intramural sports running

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Junior Jeremy Austin, an intramurals student supervisor, helps sign in IM basketball teams Tuesday night at the Wellness Center. Jessica Hodder//The Miami Hurricane

Ten leagues, 18 special events and hundreds of participants. How does it all come together? The Wellness Center’s intramurals department has the answer.

Tom Soria, assistant director of intramurals and special events, heads a board of student supervisors who make UM intramurals (IMs) happen. The IM student supervisors are current UM students who all share a passion for sports.

“Being a student supervisor is a way for those interested in sports to make money, hold a leadership position and have a lot of fun,” junior Dave Painter said.

Supervisors are trained as referees and also certified in CPR and first aid. Training includes studying a handbook followed by constant reinforcement by administrators like Soria.

“To become a supervisor, a student must work as an IM referee for at least three sports, apply and interview with the current board of supervisors,” junior Cameron Duckett, a student supervisor, said.

When asked if they find it difficult to remain unbiased as referees, student supervisors joked that they are actually harder on their friends’ teams. Senior Craig Shervin stressed the importance of “separating yourself” and “keeping your job separate” from your personal life.

“People don’t realize that this position deals with conflict resolution a heck of a lot more than others,” Soria said. “In the heat of the moment, players will automatically react and [the supervisors]need to be able to de-escalate the situation.”

Supervisors must be prepared for anything from injuries to contested rulings. Soria described his team as “laid-back, but when it’s time for business, they really step up to the plate and accept responsibility.”

Along with a variety of intramural leagues that last several weeks throughout each semester, the highlight for spring 2011 is the March 5 NFL Combine, one of the special events that the intramurals department offers.  Like the real NFL Combine, participants will have the opportunity to test their skills in various drills including the vertical leap and the 40-yard dash, and then compare their statistics to those of actual NFL players.

The IM supervisors are committed to providing a fun, competitive atmosphere to continue the success of the intramural sports program.

For more information, visit miami.edu/wellness/intramurals.

Kristen Spillane may be contacted at kspillane@themiamihurricane.com.

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