Intramural athletes play for T-shirts

GAMES UND students participate in programs for competition.

The Wellness Center is home to many intramural programs at UND. Students often wear “I play for the shirt” T-shirts they receive for winning an intramural championship. Photo by Chester Beltowski.

It’s nearly impossible to avoid seeing “I play for the shirt” T-shirts scattered around the UND Wellness Center.

Worn by competitive athletes or students looking to play for fun — the blue and white shirts are the prized trophy received after winning a UND intramural championship.

The intramural program at UND encourages students to participate in sports and embrace the seven dimensions of wellness. The program offers 10 diverse sports: football, volleyball, dodge ball, inline hockey, basketball, indoor soccer, ice hockey, ultimate, racquetball and broomball.

No matter their level of experience, students are encouraged to participate in a sport. To suit the varying levels of experience, there are four levels of competition — DI is for higher skilled and competitive participants, DII ranges from beginner to intermediate level, DIII is an atmosphere based on fun rather than competition and the open division has no requirements.

With men, women and coed divisions to choose from, students are able to determine which fit is right for them.

“In general, intramurals are about having fun and meeting new people,” Coordinator of RecSports and Special Events Patrick Marcoe said. “There are physical and competitive aspects, of course, but the main idea is to enjoy yourself.”

UND junior Katie Ronkowski agrees. She participated in sports in high school, and continued her activity into college — participating in intramural basketball, broomball and volleyball.

“It is a great opportunity to compete again, especially for someone who played sports in high school,” Ronkowski said. “It is so much fun and a break from studying. Plus, I play for the shirt.”

Ronkowski owns an intramural champion T-shirt and hopes to collect a few more. Her coed broomball team took the title last spring, despite her lack of experience within the sport.

“I was so excited,” Ronkowski said. “I couldn’t believe we won because I had never even played broomball before.”

Like with all competition, emotions often run high from the thrill of the game. Control is left up to trained student officials to keep a healthy, sportsmanlike and enjoyable game situation.

“I have seen players yell at the basketball refs to ‘open their eyes’,” Ronkowski said. “Of course they made some iffy calls, but I felt they always tried to the best of their abilities. After all, they aren’t professionals.”

However, actions such as this are looked down upon. Officiating involves many different aspects and the ability to find a balance. Marcoe understands the frustrations with amateur officating. However, the program ensures it hires individuals that are fit for the job and also requires training sessions for employees.

“Officiating is a sport all its own,” Marcoe said. “You need to understand positioning, foul identification, communication — and you do this while running up and down a field, court or rink and having two teams yelling at you.”

However, the crowds of students that participate display a sense of excitement.

“It’s a great time to be with your friends in a fun and lively atmosphere,” Ronkowski said. “Plus, it’s a chance to win a free shirt.”

Students interested in becoming involved with the intramural program may visit the intramural sports page on the UND website for more information.

Intramural sports seasons are half semester long, and each session offers a different array of sports. The second half of first semester sessions are open for registration now, and start in late October or early November.

Allison Moore is a staff writer for The Dakota Student. She can be reached at