Strong friendships, endless fun


Paul Csizmadia

Sophomore of Sports Adminstration Erica Thorwart comes up to bat during an intramural softball league game, Wednesday, April 9, 2014.

Melissa Puppo

As the sky turns deep blue and the sun starts to set, Erica Thorwart puts on her black t-shirt, pants and socks, ties the laces to her cleats and pulls her hair up into a ponytail.

Lights are turned on at the practice fields, as it’s time for the first pitch to be thrown — the sophomore sports administration major is getting ready to spend a few hours with her teammates running across the dirt field, sliding into bases, catching fly balls and hitting pitches.

Thorwart said she loves playing intramural softball because she’s playing with some of her closest friends.

“It’s not as competitive,” Thorwart said. “It’s obviously more fun to win, but it’s also fun playing on the field with all of your friends.”

Thorwart said she decided to sign up for intramural softball because she missed playing softball in high school and wishes she could have played in college.

“I didn’t get that opportunity [to play] so being able to still play an organized competitive league was definitely nice to have when you’re here,” Thorwart said.

Students who participate in intramural sports are able to experience a break from the books and work as a team while having fun.

Recreation Coordinator Phelan Fletcher works with the intramural leagues at Kent State and knows first-hand why they have become popular amongst college students.

“I think softball is a great way to socialize with all of your friends who are either on your team, another team, or those that just come to watch, support and cheer on your team,” Fletcher said. “It’s also great to finally be able to get outside in the sunshine and nice weather after a long winter.”

Fletcher also said students gain social interaction with other people by being able to compete but be friendly at the same time.

“The teamwork aspect of it, working with the other players and sportsmanship, is huge; to be able to work well with either your own teammates and the other team,” Fletcher said.

She said students, professors, faculty and spouses are all able to participate in the intramural leagues. There are a total of 15 different sports and activities offered in the spring that include team sports or tournaments including softball, basketball, indoor soccer and more.

Sophomore marketing major Ronnie Exline said he joined a softball intramural team his freshman year and has played third base every semester since.

“I enjoy being back on a baseball field because I played baseball as a kid, and even though it’s not as serious as Little League baseball, softball is still fun,” Exline said. “I just enjoy being there with my friends — we always try and go out there and have fun with it. If we win, that’s awesome, if we lose you know there’s more games to play.”

Exline said students should join intramural leagues in college because it’s something different to do than just going to class or partying, and it’s a good way to get exercise and have a fun time.

Thorwart said playing softball intramurals has made her make new friendships.

“I met at least 10 different people through just my softball intramural team,” Thorwart said. “They’ve all become my really good friends, and [playing] could even help you with schoolwork, too, because I know someone who’s helping me with a class right now, and without playing intramurals and getting involved, I wouldn’t have met these people.”

Sophomore advertising major Lindsey Berger played softball during high school and said playing intramurals at Kent State makes her feel like she’s playing with her high school team again.

“[Intramural softball is] like reliving organized sports, which I miss so much,” Berger said.

Berger is a member of a softball team with friends from her residence hall. She said because they are all close friends they don’t take playing too seriously.

“We all just goof around and have a good time with one another,” Berger said.

One of her most vivid memories while playing in an intramural game was when she was playing center field and made a diving catch in the outfield and caught the ball. She said she enjoys how the game brings her friends closer as they work together to win.

Thorwart said if students are interested in signing up for intramurals, they should consider it, even if they’ve never played before, because of the many benefits involved.

“I think a lot of people — if they come to the games — come to the end during championships,” Thorwart said. “And they see more of the competitive side, and that might scare them especially if they’ve never played before. It intimidates others, not that they don’t want to play, but I think if people came in the beginning of the season where everyone just has fun, it’s a really easygoing sport, and I just think everyone should be able to come out and do it because it is a lot of fun and more friendships are made that way, too.”

Contact Melissa Puppo at [email protected].