Intramural sports have been a big part of my time at Michigan. In the fall of my sophomore year as an undergrad here, I joined the IM soccer team of a friend whom I had met at my summer job. Now, I hadn’t played organized soccer since I was 10 years old, but that didn’t stop me from joining the team and bringing several of my friends with me. I quickly found that my primary contribution to a soccer team was that I could get in the way of people trying to score on my team, and so my career as a soccer defenseman was born.
The team we had joined was pretty good that year, and we made a wholehearted run at the division championship. Intramural sports are broken down into different leagues based on gender, including a co-rec league, plus extra leagues for fraternities and for graduate students. But no matter what your league or division, the goal at the end of the season is to win The Shirt (The Shirt The Shirt). Instead of handing out some trophy that would just gather dust on your shelf, the intramurals program here allows you to literally cloak yourself in glory by awarding a championship t-shirt to the Victors. And when you go to undergrad at Michigan and see people wearing The Shirt around, it’s hard not to want one for yourself.
In my time here (now six years that have absolutely flown by), I’ve been fortunate enough to win four of said shirt, two in each soccer and broomball. And if you’re not familiar with broomball, you should probably look it up, it’s very entertaining to watch. But those aren’t the only two sports I’ve played. I’ve played everything from flag football to innertube water polo (also a very entertaining sport to watch). I’ve by and large been the captain of these teams, because there needs to be an organizer who sets up the team, ensures that all of the players are registered, and generally makes sure everybody knows where and when to show up for games.
When I started medical school here, I didn’t know how much time I would have for fun things when there was studying to be done. I joined or started a couple of teams here and there, and before I knew it, over the course of the first two years of med school, I had played on seven different teams in four different sports. And the best part was, I didn’t find it difficult to balance my school obligations with the games at all. Flex-time quizzing (literally the best thing ever) meant I was able to make time when I wanted to, and take my quizzes when I felt good and ready.
The med school here has done a great job supporting these sorts of endeavors outside of the curriculum. When I enrolled here, I was pleasantly surprised to find that they offered partial reimbursements for the costs of joining an IM team. This was something I took full advantage of during my preclinical years, and then, just as I was about to begin my M3 clinical rotations, I had the opportunity to succeed the graduating IM Sports Coordinator for the medical school. Now, even though I’m roaming the wards and working with patients, I can still help M1s, M2s (and even some M4s), get and stay involved in the intramural sports program that has been such a large part of my time here at Michigan.
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Mike is a third-year medical student at the University of Michigan Medical School. When he’s not on the wards or coordinating IM sports, he can usually be found at the dog park or at Michigan football games.