Intramurals Provide Communal Activities

By Ellen Oliver

The winner of the 2013 Nashoba intramural volleyball championships was The Aces – Captain Andrew Parrow, Sam O’Connor, Gina DiMasi, Nick Campana, Drew Korn and Kevin Connelly.
Courtesy NRHS

Beyond the sports and clubs at Nashoba, there’s a thriving intramural program, typically offered between sports seasons. “The intramural program is an option for some kids who aren’t involved in other sports,” said Nashoba Athletic Director Tania Rich.
Matball, volleyball, badminton and other sports are offered between varsity seasons in a brief tournament style to bring together the Nashoba community in a fun environment.

“Intramurals are really for anybody. It’s about the community and bringing everyone together,” said Matt Ettinger, a teacher and coach who ran matball this year. “It’s like a family picnic where everyone plays a fun communal activity.”

Fun is the foundation, but these tournaments are also competitive, drawing players from across all grades, clubs, and styles. “With matball, we had 11 teams with 14 players each, so 150 kids,” said Ettinger. “Matball is kickball and baseball on steroids,” explained Ettinger. “It’s fast moving and there’s no limit to how many kids can be on bases or when you can run. It results in some fast pitching. It’s pretty chaotic.”

Contributing to the controlled chaos is the playing field where the entire gym is “in” and players score by lapping the bases twice. Or you don’t have to run at all. Bases allow more than just a foothold; they are gym mats that can hold a small crowd of people, giving the game its name.

Volleyball gathered 18 teams of 10 kids  in another good-spirited, but also competitive contest. Part of the reason the intramural volleyball tournament is competitive is because of a long-time volleyball team, the Fighting Ducks – the teacher’s team. “When I was at Nashoba,” said Rich. “You always wanted to beat the Fighting Ducks.”

The volleyball intramurals are a different animal because Nashoba also has a regular season volleyball team with skilled players. Keeping with the spirit of the intramural tournament, the girls of the volleyball teams don’t band together. “The girls split up on teams, some like to make their own teams for friends,” said Ettinger. Rich said the volleyball team athletes also helped their coach, Johnna Doyle, keep the intramural program organized and running.

In the spring, bad minton is another intramural program with a smaller, but dedicated following. “That’s a big hit,” said Rich, who explained that about 20 teams of two players each battle in the same double elimination tournament style.

Other intramural sports have come and gone through the years, including dodge ball and Quidditch, and new ones emerge, such as ultimate Frisbee. “Ultimate Frisbee is an up and coming sport, so we’re running it as an intramural and a club,” said Rich. “There’s a lot of interest.” Ultimate Frisbee relies on targeted Frisbee throws to advance the disk and the team down a field. It’s sort of like football with a Frisbee instead of a ball, and no tackling, only steals.

Dave Ceron and David Czapkowski at CrossFit training at NRHS.
Courtesy NRHS

Another activity run like an intramural sport is a new CrossFit Training program that started as a PE class. The Nashoba program is a registered CrossFit program, run by Ettinger, who is currently a Level 1 CrossFit trainer and working on his next level.

CrossFit is a strength and conditioning program and Ettinger says it can be geared to any type of athlete. “CrossFit is for anyone, any fitness level, any ability. It’s had a big impact on Nashoba,” he explained. Ettinger said he has programs that run in the morning before school and others that start late, after the sports practices have finished.

The intramural programs allow another way for the students and teachers of Nashoba to come together in a competitive environment. “Each day when we post the schedule, the kids get excited to see who they are going to play,” he said. “They get into naming their teams and have fun trash talking each other.” The finals of the intramurals draw many fans and the winners are recognized in the school community. Some teams are awarded a trophy (for mat ball), t-shirts, and of course, bragging rights.