There used to be excitement for intramural volleyball. Individuals would arrive early to get a few hits in before games started. Teams with creative, pun-driven names would circle up in their matching t-shirts to practice their bumps, sets, and spikes. And, the playoffs…Well, let’s just say that the playoffs were as heated any championship game.
That’s not the case this year. Something is different. Something has changed.
Now, I am not saying that intramural volleyball is no longer enjoyable. I mean, what is better than taking two hours every Tuesday and Thursday to spend time with friends and smash a ball as hard as you can, especially during the last weeks of classes? But, this year, it seems like there is no organization, no structure and no motivation to even try to establish a functional “season.”
Could it be the fact that instead of starting promptly at 10 p.m., intramural volleyball starts whenever the nets finally get up, which in most case is not until 10:15 or 10:20?
Or, maybe it is because intramurals did not start until November 1. Throw in a handful of cancelled nights due to the NCAA Division III Championship and Thanksgiving break, and now you have less than 10 meetings.
With that number of gatherings the playoffs would most likely begin on Dec. 6 or 9 but, as of right now, there is no intention to do so. And, even if a playoff schedule was to somehow assemble, what would the seeding be? No records of wins and losses have been kept and not every team has played each other.
As the intramural director, these “day to day” issues fall on the lap of James Akita. But, there is an underlying issue a problem that can be traced back to the athletic department.
Here is why.
Back in September the Tyrrell Fitness Center and R.A. Fagnel Hall had to cut their hours due to a decrease in federal work study funding. Instead of staying open until 11 p.m. they are now forced to close at 9 p.m. As a result, winter sports teams had to make the necessary adjustments in scheduling their practices. Basketball fumbled around with their finalized schedules which caused Akita to have to wait until nearly October before he could begin planning for intramurals. Once Akita had an agenda put together he had to get permission from the athletic director Paul Krohn to keep the gym open past hours. From there, Akita had to get authority to have a key to open the volleyball doors, since they changed the locks.
Since I came to EC four years ago, intramural volleyball has been an established, yearly occurrence. So the question is why did it take until Nov. 1 to not only get permission to play but to grant access to open a door? It seems inefficient and silly to me.
Another issue deals with the selection of Akita as intramural director. It seems ineffective to put a man in charge of running another organization when he is basically in season year round. As the head men’s cross country coach, he can see the season can go as late as November if, like this year, one of his runners qualifies for the national championship. Then his focus immediately turns to the indoor track and field season, which starts in January and lasts until they move outdoors for the spring portion of their season and ends in May. Why not select a spring coach, who is out of season in the fall, to run the fall intramurals and vice versa? Or, for that matter, why does it even have to be a coach?
As a participant of intramural volleyball for the past four years, I have witnessed firsthand intramurals being cancelled. Whether there was not enough room in the gym because of an extended basketball practice, or because no one could open the door while Akita was away, or because of whatever else the case was, the message has been received: EC lacks interest in intramural sports.
And, this is just the fall. Do we even have any spring intramural sports?