Teams comprised of John Brown University students left their books in their dorms to play dodgeball on last month.
The beginning of the 2017 JBU intramural season brought teams to the Walton Lifetime Health Complex. Seven teams competed in dodgeball in the first intramural sport on campus. These teams competed for the glory of the championship title—and a free t-shirt.
Only the Elusive Butterflies won the title, but other students felt they gained valuable friendships without placing in first. Freshman Kameron McMillin said she enjoyed getting to know her teammates and seeing them around campus.
“[Teammates] are nine more people around campus that you know and you can recognize in public. . .it makes you feel more included,” McMillin said.
Participants said the community feeling extends further than their own teammates because intramurals allow students to meet their opponents. After the game ended and teams exchanged high-fives, they continued to interact with each other.
Lauren Snodgrass, a participant in this year’s intramural dodgeball, said that the teams played another game just for fun, even though it did not change their record. She said it’s not just about the competition. Snodgrass said there was not a lot of pressure to win the dodgeball game so it made it more enjoyable.
“The fun part is getting to compete with [friends] and meeting people on different teams,” Jack Stockton, a player for the Fresh Nachos, said.
These feelings are not unique to dodgeball. Other intramural sports develop the same atmosphere as the dodgeball tournament. From volleyball to basketball, students spend their evenings working on their skills and hanging out with friends.
Isaac Arnold, one-time intramural soccer and softball player, said that intramurals allowed him to build a team atmosphere. He said playing dodgeball gave him the opportunity to make friends in a relaxing environment.
“Teamwork always does that,” Arnold said. “I played soccer in high school, and it did the same kind of thing. So, playing dodgeball has the same sort of element: just making friends and building those relationships.”
Students said they experience community and build new friendships by joining intramural teams, similar to other sports people might have participated in before coming to JBU. Intramurals also provide a social outlet for those who do not enjoy playing sports: students can come to watch their friends play.
Several students came to the dodgeball championship game to cheer on their friends’ teams. Fans chanted team members’ names throughout the night. Whether a student participated in or watched the game, dodgeball gave them a rest from their school work for a few minutes.
“It’s just a great outlet, you know, if you’re studying all day, and then to just come and have a little exercise and hang out with friends,” Arnold said.