IM sports adjust to distancing protocols
At Rice, weekends in fall are typically rife with uproarious cries from flag football players draped in their college’s colors. Camaraderie, competition and championship hopes brew amongst the teams as each game marks a new memory for the students to share. Although this year is marked by the absence of traditional intramural sports due to COVID-19, the passion students harbor for sport is still ever-present.
The Gibbs Recreation and Wellness Center and the competitive sports leadership group spent the summer creating innovative ways to keep IM sports alive during the pandemic. In addition to the online esports competitions that Rice IMs has hosted in the past, the administrators added a new set of games.
Competitive Sports Coordinator Cara Caspersen is excited to unveil these new sports to the students, and hopes that by providing safe ways to engage in sport.
“We worked really hard over the summer to come up with creative ways for students to be active, competitive and connected through IMs this fall,” Caspersen said.
In place of traditional team sports, new skill-based competitions have been added to the IM menu. Now students will be able to test out their expertise in these sports by participating in the basketball 3-point contest, the soccer skills challenge, or in football punt, pass, kick.
“One of the ways we adapted was to take some of our most popular team sports and either highlight certain skills or change some of the rules so that there would be options for individual or small (but physically distanced group) group competition,” Caspersen said.
Students will have the chance to participate in axe-throwing and archery, competitions that they may have never encountered before, through Rice IMs. Caspersen said she is especially excited about these new additions.
“Axe throwing is a new and exciting addition this year,” Caspersen said. “Not many students come in with a strong axe throwing background, so it shouldn’t be too intimidating for someone to come out and try.”
With regard to archery, she believes that individual competition will be a motivating factor that drives participation.
“Archery we offered last year as a tournament, and this year are trying as an individual sport,” Caspersen said. “There’s a young Olympic hopeful on campus we are hoping will help us tell students how fun archery is and we can grow involvement that way.”
Despite COVID taking away classics such as flag football and powderpuff, Rice Competitive Sports has done their best to create a safe environment in which students can compete. More information about the array of sports can be found at: www. recreation.rice.edu/ims.
More from The Rice Thresher
Rice will travel to Hattiesburg, Mississippi on Saturday to take on the University of Southern Mississippi in what will be the Owls’ second game of the season. The team is coming off of a double overtime loss to Middle Tennessee State University in their season opener. According to head coach Mike Bloomgren, while the Owls showed promise in the loss, the team has to improve before Saturday’s game.
This past Saturday afternoon, the Rice football team opened their season at an empty Rice Stadium against the Middle Tennessee State University. The Owls came back from a 15 point deficit in the second half to force overtime, but bad luck spelled defeat for Rice as they lost 40-34 in double OT.
Rice swimming kicked off its 2020 season last Friday with a dual meet against Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas. Junior Becca Evans captured first place in the 100-yard freestyle and anchored a win in the 200-free relay, but the Owls came up short as the Aggies took the meet by a score of 150-107.