In a normal year, Intramural Sports would host matches of futsal, volleyball, soccer, tennis and basketball, as well as an annual badminton tournament and the Thanksgiving Turkey Trot 5k run. However, this semester’s social distancing requirements and limits on crowd sizes have caused Intramurals to explore new ways of offering organized group activities.
Aaron Campbell, head track and field coach and director of intramurals, described adapting to COVID-19 restrictions as challenging. Trying to find activities that not only follow social distancing requirements but are also fun and contribute to community engagement is no easy feat. Intramural basketball and soccer usually have the highest numbers of participants, yet these sports require close contact with others and sharing equipment, both of which must now be avoided.
“The social distancing component is definitely our biggest challenge in terms of what we can do and what those sports are,” Campbell said. “We were … figuring out what protocol looks like (and) what is going to be safe but also going to have those elements of intramurals that we’ve liked since the beginning.”
In place of futsal, which normally begins during the fall semester, Intramurals has introduced a game called Kubb, pronounced “koob.” Kubb is played by two teams, where players throw batons to try and knock over the other team’s Kubb blocks. Once each block has been knocked down, the leading team has the chance to knock over the “king” Kubb block, which is in the center of the playing area. Knocking over the “king” Kubb block wins the game.
Michael Mulrennan ’22 described Kubb as similar to bowling, as the objective is knocking over pins or blocks. He introduced it as an idea for Intramurals this year after learning how to play over the summer. There has been positive feedback from students who have participated in Kubb games so far. Mulrennan said that there was a bit of a learning curve at first, in figuring out how to play a new game, but teams adapted quickly and had fun while playing, despite distancing requirements.
“Doing an activity together was a really powerful and important thing,” Mulrennan said. “Intramurals has a great community, and it was really fun to share that with some new people, and some freshmen, and get them outside and playing again.”
Mulrennan highly encourages people to sign up for Kubb and hopes to have more teams play in the upcoming weeks. Games last 45 minutes to an hour, and according to Mulrennan are “a great way to get outside and have some fun.” Sign-ups are always open, and you can sign up a team of three to five people by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Intramurals is planning to host kickball later in the semester, and in the spring they are hoping to be able to return to some of the sports they have done in the past. Regardless of the necessary changes to the structure of the semester, Campbell is remaining optimistic and flexible.
“We want to try new stuff, we’re not afraid to see how things go,” Campbell said. “This was a good opportunity to say alright, we’re in a different spot, let’s get something new out, so that’s where Kubb came up, and we’re rolling with it.”