Intramurals offer novel experiences



Matt Dudzik, the assistant athletic director for intramurals and facilities, oversees the diverse intramurals program. Photo by Wesley Smith

From bubble soccer to combat archery, intramurals provide students an opportunity to show off their skills while scoring a few friends along the way.

“A big portion of college life is not just the classroom,” said Matt Dudzik, director of intramurals. “It’s about having a support system.”

The role of intramural sports has become more prominent on university campuses in recent years, as evidence indicates numerous advantages for those who participate.

A 2006 study published in the Journal of Student Affairs Research and Practice concluded that students who engage in intramural activities receive more personal social benefits and social group bonding benefits than students who do not.

Dudzik, who took over as director in 2001 when just two sports were being offered, stressed the importance of providing these benefits to all students, not just athletes.

“One of the goals I had with the program was to make it unique,” he said. “Not everybody is an athlete, but they still want to participate in different activities.”

Today, the intramurals program offers over 40 different activities for individuals of all backgrounds and athletic abilities. Bubble soccer, an action-packed variation of the team sport in which players wear bubble suits and bounce off their opponents, and combat archery, a sport similar to paintball that is played with bows and arrows tipped with foam, are just two of the offerings that bring students together.

For Elijah Repke, a senior mechanical engineering technology major, go-karts and frisbee golf were what led to him developing strong relationships on campus.

“I didn’t know anybody here,” he said. “I was totally new to the area and intramurals were definitely a good way to help me meet people.”

Hector Cabrera, a senior communications major and dodgeball enthusiast, said his experience with intramurals over the last four years has been positive.

“I was able to meet friends that I have to this day,” he said. “I think anyone, whether you’re a freshman or a senior, should definitely take advantage.”

Dudzik said he is excited about the future of intramurals at PNW and credits the student body for the program’s success, especially during the coronavirus pandemic.

“It’s been challenging,” he said. “[The students] getting behind it and really wanting to get involved is what grew it and keeps it going.”

Dudzik added that he is currently working to provide more safe and socially-distanced activities in the spring.

For Cabrera, that can’t come soon enough.

“Now more than ever, we need that human interaction,” he said.