Intramural, club sports engage students in competition

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Sophomore Abby Miller charges toward a row of defenders during a rugby club scrimmage Wednesday afternoon on the IM fields. UM features 34 club sports – including unique options like Quidditch and Tai chi – in addition to its many intramural opportunities. Zach Beeker // Staff Photographer 

There are 471 scholarship student-athletes at the University of Miami, constituting about 3 percent of the school’s population. These student-athletes compete at the highest level of college sport in the United States.

But that doesn’t mean the rest of us can’t play our favorite sports at the University of Miami.

Through club sport programs and intramural competitions, students can compete in a variety of sports at differing levels of competition. The wellness center offers 34 different club sports and numerous intramural competitions throughout the year.

The primary difference between club and intramural sports is the time commitment.

Whereas club sports typically last all year and offer different levels of competition, intramurals last for only a few weeks at a more intense level.

Most club sports will allow any student to practice with the team during their scheduled practice days. They sometimes compete with other teams around the country.

Last year, the Quidditch club was ranked second out of the 66 teams in the nation, and the sailing team is among the nation’s best every year.

“Club sports provide an opportunity for the zealous amateur or the recreational dilettante to pursue his passion with like-minded enthusiasts,” said Louis Cai, president of the Table Tennis club team. “The aura of positivity and camaraderie ignites the desire to improve, and consequently, many of our clubs compete at a high level.”

The variety of club sports at Miami, which includes unique sports like aikido – a form of Japanese self defense – continues to grow.

Ballroom dancing, boxing, kiteboarding, Quidditch and Tai chi will enter their first full year of existence this fall.

“The new club sports add another dimension to our current club sports and give the UM students more options on how to spend their free time,” said Connie Nickel, assistant director of club sports.

From flag football to bench-pressing contests, intramurals provide other fun and exciting ways to stay active and connect with the UM community.

“Its all about creating relationships, not just with your team, but with the other teams, the officials, and the referees,” said Tom Soria, assistant director of intramurals. “We strive to find the healthy balance between intense competition and sportsmanship.”

Champions of the intramurals tournaments receive prizes like Hurricane apparel, and the winner of the annual intramural golf tournament wins a spot in the NIRA national tournament in Las Vegas.

“You hear a lot of trash talk out in the IM fields,” Soria said of the competetive intramural atmosphere. “I play in the flag football leagues and everyone tries to gun me down.”

To sign up for intramural sports or for any additional information on the different club sports or intramural leagues, visit the membership office on the second floor of the wellness center.

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