Intramurals are a much-loved tradition on campus, bringing students together for friendly inter-house competition on the court, the field and even the Midway ice rink. But due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the University of Chicago’s intramural sports program has adapted its offerings to meet the needs of our newly virtual community.
“We had to quickly pivot and figure out what we were going to do to still interact with our students and give them this opportunity to engage with each other and do something outside of schoolwork,” said Matthew Fox, UChicago director of intramurals and recreational sports.
Despite having to learn on the fly at the beginning of the pandemic, Fox said Spring Quarter 2020 was a success—both in terms of sign-ups and student feedback. Since then, Fox identified some staples of remote gaming and esports that will continue throughout Winter and Spring Quarters, and his team is brainstorming “fresh ideas to keep students excited and interested in participating.”
The intramurals program typically offers around 12 sports and games each quarter, so that there is enough variety for students. “We realize that we have a unique student body here and we try to get creative even during regular times with what we offer,” Fox said. “We want everyone to get involved.”
This winter, students chose from video games like Among Us, FIFA 21, Mario Kart, Minecraft and Super Smash Bros.; virtual board and card games such as Scrabble, euchre, hearts and spades; a lip sync competition; and the Maroon Step Challenge, which promoted movement and exercise.