As numerous teams compete for the entire school year in different intramural sports, only a select few experience the thrill of proving themselves as the best among Greek, residential college and independent teams. Even fewer earn the right to travel to regional and national tournaments with their teammates and friends.
With each intramural sport, teams compete against other teams within their division during the regular season. Greek teams compete against other Greeks, residential colleges face off against other colleges and independents play independents. However, once playoffs begin, teams see how they stack up against the best from other divisions, until one team – regardless of division – wins the tournament and is crowned Murray State champion.
From that point, some teams elect to travel to regional tournaments, where if they play well enough, they may get the chance to compete in a national championship tournament.
But how do they do it? How do certain teams find ways to rise above the rest and prove themselves the best Murray has to offer? Some of Murray’s intramural “all stars” weighed in on the question.
Jeremiah Stinnett, captain of the Alpha Sigma Phi teams who lead the race for the all sports cup among fraternities, discussed the key to their success.
“Figuring out the strengths and weaknesses of the guys you are playing with and finding a way to make everything mesh (is key),” Stinnett said. “You can have talented players but if they don’t work well together it can be a long, frustrating season.”
Josh Jones led the Hester men’s teams to basketball and football championships as well as national tournament appearances.
“The keys to our team’s success are staying together and having fun,” Jones said. “Also, our entire team was a bunch of friends who played together for years. We knew and understood each other more than any team we faced.”
However, the teams that win don’t necessarily practice daily. In fact, some don’t even practice at all.
“We never practiced because we didn’t want to take the fun out of intramurals,” Jones said. “Occasionally, we ran some games at the Wellness Center but it was never planned or organized. However, we did schedule games with local junior colleges to sharpen our skills. Those games were important because it prepared us for tense situations.”
Both of these captains said they always wanted to maintain the focus on having fun, trying not to make intramurals ever become solely about winning. In fact, both reiterated the idea that they were simply groups of friends getting together and having fun playing different sports.
However, both Stinnett and Jones had some advice for anyone looking to put together a successful intramural team in the future.
“The most important advice that I can give any team who wants to win the championship is this,” Stinnett said. “Build your team with people who can play well together and who are willing to accept a role on the team. Going for the people with the most ‘talent’ is not always the way to go. If they can’t play well as a team, then it will never work.”
Stinnett’s teams used their “three c’s motto” throughout their success in a variety of different intramural sports.
“Communication to keep everyone involved on the same page,” Stinnett said. “Chemistry to make sure everyone is working well together and has time to figure each other out. And competitiveness to make sure that our team goes out and gives 100 percent every time they play.”
These different techniques worked well for both captains, who experienced tremendous intramural success, not only this year, but throughout their tenures at Murray State.
However, those in the intramural office, and those who play all reiterate their hope that students will continue to place the fun and relationship building that comes with intramural sports far above any desire to win games and championships.