Let the games begin

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    By Michael Barzee

    At LaVell Edwards Stadium, dreams of a national championship echo through the locker rooms. Across the street at the intramural fields, there are no locker rooms but there are still dreams ? dreams of winning an intramural championship.

    This week marks the beginning of intramural sports for singles tennis, ultimate Frisbee, flag football, soccer, volleyball and wheelchair rugby.

    ?I am a big believer that every student needs some kind of balance where they are not just studying and going to class,? said Intramural Activities Director Phil Kelly. ?They just get burned out.?

    Lindsey Tidwell, a senior majoring in Exercise Science, plays intramural sports not only for a break in studying but for the camaraderie that comes with it.

    ?I just have fun playing intramural sports with my friends,? she said.

    For whatever reasons someone plays intramural sports, the intramural program was also established to provide wholesome activities to the majority of the student body, not just the athletic minority. BYU students and faculty, as well as non-students living in BYU wards, are allowed to participate. To allow for different levels of athletic aptitude and to keep a level playing field, each sport is divided into divisions based upon ability.

    No matter the sport, whether it is an individual sport like tennis or a team sport like flag football, sportsmanship is a top priority Kelly said.

    Kelly said he believes that venting emotions is not necessarily unsportsmanlike but that you have to learn how to control your emotions.

    ?There is a difference between arguing the same point over and over and letting out some emotion,? he said. ?We teach our staff to have some tolerance when they feel like someone is just venting.?

    Cody Fonnesbeck, a senior majoring in communications studies, has been playing intramural sports since he was a freshman.

    ?It?s not the end of the world if you get beat,? he said. ?Good sportsmanship goes along with the church.?

    Part of Kelly?s job is to mediate with those participants that receive a red card and are removed from the game indefinitely. Even though Kelly sees the worst of the worst, he still said he thinks the majority of participants practice good sportsmanship.

    ?I think it is great being at BYU,? Kelly said. ?We probably have the best sportsmanship on the planet.?

    With over 80 years of tradition, Kelly said he believes that the success of this program is because of increased student participation and outpouring support from the administration. The program now averages more than 12,000 students per year, which ranks the intramural program among the nation?s most successful programs.

    Let the quest of intramural champions begin.

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