Club Spotlight: College Intramural Sports

Floor hockey, one of the College Intramurals league events from last year, had nearly 55 participating teams in the competitive and recreational leagues.  The event will return this year, along with other returning sports events including Capture the Flag and dodgeball. (Photo by Kevin Baier)
Floor hockey, one of the College Intramurals league events from last year, had nearly 55 participating teams in the competitive and recreational leagues. The event will return this year, along with other returning sports events including Capture the Flag and dodgeball. (Photo by Kevin Baier)

Beginning with a modified version of kickball this month, the St. Mary’s Intramural Sports are officially starting their sports-spanning season, representing the College’s values of good sportsmanship, earning free stuff, and having a fun time.

Intramurals has risen in popularity over the past few years, gaining enrollment from its true beginnings in the 1990s for offering a wide range of activities representative of the College’s diversity of ideas and interests. From volleyball, to five-kilometer Turkey Races, Intramurals has several programs in which students can engage, whether or not they are competitive in the activity. With the varying levels of complexity, small time commitments, and mostly evening times, the activities fit the needs of a wide range of students and faculty.

Intramurals is beginning the Fall of 2010-2011 with Matball, an alternative form of volleyball played inside the Michael P. O’Brien Athletics and Recreation Center basketball courts. Students and faculty members can form teams by sending in rosters to, or by posting on the St. Mary’s Intramurals Facebook page.
The organization itself is making a few changes for this year, including a transition from three-week leagues to smaller events to better adjust for student time commitments and activity feasibility.

“We’re planning on short, weekend-long events,” said Brooke Austin, a senior supervisor of St. Mary’s College of Maryland Intramural Sports, “to get a lot of people participating and having fun.”

To aid in student participation, Intramurals is still offering recreational and competitive leagues for sports-related events, offering a chance for novice players and experienced athletes to both enjoy the activities. While College athletes cannot compete in the recreational league of their sport, novice players are free to play in either league for the winning prize.

“[The events are] not intimidating,” said Caitlin Kennedy, a sophomore supervisor with Intramurals. “You don’t have to be good.”

While t-shirts with the year’s Intramurals theme are given to the winning teams of the event, be they competitive or recreational leagues, Austin has also mentioned “a new incentive” for this year’s Matball winners. Other confidential information, including this year’s theme, will be posted on the Intramurals bulletin board in the ARC and announced during this year’s events.

Some returning events for the club include dodgeball, floor hockey, badminton, and, of course, Capture the Flag, which has boosted the popularity of Intramurals over the past few years with consistently high turnout rates.

“So many people love playing intramurals,” said Jackie Reymann, a junior supervisor with Intramurals. “And, you can join [the event] without a team. We’re on Facebook, so you can join as a friend to find a team.”

Upcoming events include this September’s Matball league and Capture the Flag, which will be on Oct. 1.

MPO’BARC, and an Onslaught of Other Crazy Acronyms

On March 10, the campus received an all-student email urging the members of the campus community to refer to the Athletics and Recreation Center by its new official name (as of Feb. 20): the Michael P. O’Brien Athletics and Recreation Center. Because it was a campus-wide email, many students probably deleted the email without looking at it carefully, if at all. I remember reading it and shrugging and then proceeding to delete it. New emails from Tom Fisher, the director of the Michael P. O’Brien Athletics and Recreation Center, had the full name of the center typed out in the headings, but then, this was only a reflection of the fact that, well, the building’s name had officially changed. I didn’t think anything of it.

Then Monday, the night of Point News meetings, came around.

As you have probably noticed, The Point News has a policy of giving the full name of associations or buildings on the first reference, and then the abbreviation on the second reference. For example, the Student Environmental Action Coalition becomes SEAC, and the Athletics and Recreation Center becomes the ARC, or at least it used to. Now, after some discussion with the Point News staff, we’re still not sure what the Michael P.O’Brien Athletics and Recreation Center would officially become upon abbreviation. An email sent out a week or so ago abbreviated it to MPOARC. In the Point News room, we had discussed the possibility of MPO’BARC, or MPOBARC (without the apostrophe, for those who think that MPO’BARC looks too much like a chant from an H. P. Lovecraft story). Either way, whether we use MPOARC or MPO’BARC or MPOBARC, this poses a problem for us.

The purpose of acronyms is to allow a text to become easier for its audience to read. Ideally, the reader is already familiar with the acronym used, and so slogging through the wordiness of full titles becomes a non-issue. Even if the reader is unfamiliar with the full name of whatever is being abbreviated, the abbreviation still makes reading easier and less wordy. This is especially necessary in journalism, where wordiness is the easiest way to get a reader to put the newspaper down and to switch on the TV instead. Therefore, the whole notion of using MPOBARC as an acronym makes very little sense. Not only are most students and faculty unused to seeing this acronym or any of its variants in print, but the sheer use of so many capital letters in one acronym–which can’t even be pronounced like a word in itself, as can, say, UNICEF–would actually make the reader slow down every time the acronym popped up in print. This is counterproductive.

We talked about this as a staff, and taking this into account, decided that we would now refer to what was the Athletics and Recreation Center as the Michael P. O’Brien Athletics and Recreation Center on first reference, and the old usage of ARC on all other references to make articles read more smoothly.

I would also like to add that none of us have anything against Michael P. O’Brien. None of us resent that the athletics building is now named after him. I do, however, wonder why the ARC is the only building that seems to have drawn administrative attention regarding the use of its proper name. I rarely see emails calling the River Center the James P. Muldoon River Center (JPMRC?), even though Muldoon is the chair of the Board of Trustees while O’Brien is a trustee that to my knowledge holds no special rank within the Board. The Health Center’s official name is Ethel Chance Hall (ECH? ECHC?), named after a nurse who worked at the Health Center for 32 years, although I have never seen or heard anyone call it that (except maybe on some of the campus maps). If any of us at the Point News just missed the memo on any of these names, then we’d be happy to rectify this and begin including other proper names as part of the first reference wording of these buildings ‘ names. Until then, Ethel Chance Hall is the Health Center, the James P. Muldoon River Center is the River Center, and the Michael P. O’Brien ARC is the ARC–after the first reference.

ARC Danceathon Raises Money for Haiti

On Friday, Feb. 26, students danced in the Athletic and Recreation Center until 2:30 am for the “Dance Your Shoes Off Dance Marathon!” The event, which was part of the Nest and hosted by the Residence Life Staff and Programs Board, was held to raise donations for Haiti. Attendees were asked to bring a donation of 5 dollars for the American Red Cross or shoes for Soles for Souls.

“Staying up until 2:30 am never felt so good!” said senior Sola Ogundele, Director of Campus Programming. “There were some committed dancers that showed up at 9pm and danced until last song (2:30 a.m.), and I could not be prouder of the SMCM community.”

20 dollar gift cards to the campus store were given to Julia Funey, Katelyn Heydt, Maurielle Stewart, Molly McKee, and Erica Watson, the five people who remained at the end of the six hour marathon. 149 students attended and donated 174.72 dollars.

“I think the event was definitely a success,” said Chelsea McGlyn, one of the Prince George’s Resident Assistants who helped run the event. “I was surprised by the generosity some people showed (the DJ volunteered two extra hours in order to stay for the entire marathon, some people came in just to donate, Programs Board for combining their resources with ours to make it a success).”

“The Nest was in charge of finding and hiring a DJ to perform from the hours of 9pm-3am. ResLife organized the refreshments and the prize for the dance off winners,” said Jessica Harvey, Programs Board chair for the Nest.
The Invisible Children club will be hosting a similar event in April.