Drop in and have a ball

Free intramurals offered to students at the RecPlex

If you’ve walked past the RecPlex on a Friday lunchhour and wondered why people are trying to keep a four-foot wide bouncing ball from hitting the floor, they’re playing kin-ball – one of the intramural activities offered to University of Winnipeg students three days a week. 

The drop-in intramural program at the Axworthy Health & RecPlex started in October and runs every Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. The program serves as an opportunity for students to use the RecPlex facility, get active during their studies, and on Fridays, introduce them to new kinds of sports, like kin-ball. 

Invented in Quebec in 1987, kin-ball is played with a ball 1.5 metres in diametre that weighs one kilogram. Players work together to keep the ball from touching the ground. Other sports featured on “Friday Fundays” have included kickball and spikeball. Mondays are reserved for soccer and Wednesdays for ultimate frisbee.

“Last year, Dr. Nathan Hall had a kinesiology class in which his students were responsible for running intramural programs. This year we have paid staff running and coordinating it,” Shayne Pfeifer, student intramural coordinator, says.

“It builds the sense of community. For students in general it keeps them active, keeps them healthy. It also gives students a chance to try new activities or sports,” Pfeifer says.

“It’s very free and open, which is nice for people who don’t need or don’t want the commitment or can’t handle it or have busy schedules.” 

In the future, they hope to bring some changes to the way the program operates, Pfeifer says.

“Ideally, though, we’d like to see eventually some kind of coordinated leagues... that is very organized in which teams will play against each other on set times when it’s all scheduled. We don’t have that right now but it’s something we’d like to see in the future.”

Jordan Warren, a first year student majoring in kinesiology who participates in the ultimate frisbee club, says that it not only helps him stay fit, but helps to relieve stress as well.

“Being a kinesiology student I know the importance of a physical activity along with studying and (intramurals are) a good way to either blow off steam or just relax for a few minutes or even an hour or two. Just to get your mind off studying for just a little bit and go and have fun,” Warren says.

Cameron Russell, a first year student who came to take part in intramurals, says it can be intimidating to start, so having the recreational drop-ins can be very helpful.

“I like to play sports, but I’m also not a soccer, football player or anything. So it’s a nice thing to get involved with (activities) where you don’t have to be a pro. Not everyone is really good at soccer or the other regular sports they play, like basketball or volleyball. It’s nice for them to have a chance to play something,” Russell says.

Published in Volume 70, Number 17 of The Uniter (January 28, 2016)

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