A Letter to the Intramurals Coordinator: Your Program Sucks
Dear Mr. Duane Parliament, Coordinator of Intramurals and Special Projects:
I am writing this letter to you—via the public forum of Queen’s University—because I am really cheesed, and I want you, and the general Queen’s populace, to know about it.
I, along with many of my Queen’s University peers, am an active, amateur athlete who loves and craves competitive sports. I have participated in dodgeball, curling, ultimate Frisbee, basketball, outdoor soccer, and flag football intramurals during my time at Queen’s.
You, as the intramurals coordinator of Queen’s University, are responsible for providing us with a safe, well organized, efficiently coordinated, fun environment.
You have failed us all in this task.
Each evening, armoured in sports gear, I arrive at the gym or field, uncertain; I dream of a competitive game of *sport*, but am wary against such optimism. Why must this be so?
Well, there remains a recurring theme of frustration within Queen’s intramurals. It is bolstered by an inexhaustible list of infuriating intramural experiences:
1) I have had no referees show up to games;
2) I have had one of two referees not show up to games;
3) I have had two referees leave, because of an eight-minute delay, while the other team was tying their shoes (an admirable referee from the next-door court kindly refereed our game instead);
4) I have had referees who do not know how to referee their respective sport;
5) I have spoken to referees who lament your referee training, your scheduling, and your unwillingness to listen to suggestions;
6) I have had a league fold because there were not enough teams. Even though I was team captain, I was not notified of this until I emailed you to ask where our schedule was;
6b) It took multiple subsequent emails to have you rectify the situation fairly;
7) I have played Tier 1 basketball at the KCVH gym: a facility seemingly from the Cold War era, haunted by a finger’s width of dust, and constructed out of concrete (which is entirely unacceptable for the highest tier/competitive level of basketball available at Queen’s);
8) I have played in games without the necessary equipment (torn dodgeballs, lights off on the field, and not enough pinnies); and
9) I have had many opposing teams not show up to our games (an absurdly high number).
To be clear, you have a number of referees who are attentive, responsive, knowledgeable, and commanding, but you also have a swath of employees who lack a number of these essential qualities.
I am also grateful for the absentee penalization fee, and understand that you cannot guarantee team accountability. But, suppose, for a moment, that teams’ indifference to attendance is something greater and more systemic. Consider, for a moment, as unfathomable as it may seem, that the reason students leave their counterparts hanging is because they have no incentive or desire to show up to games. There are always reasons teams ‘no-show’ for intramurals, but it could also be that the games are simply not thrilling enough. Playing in an uncomfortably cold, concrete high school gym, or in a dusty, outdated dodgeball facility, or with incompetent referees (or no referees), are disincentives for students to remain accountable for their registration.
Duane, it may not be you who has directly caused these frustrations, but as the overseer of this program, it is you I invite to make change. The status quo is simply unacceptable.
First, we students pay for this. Intramurals are not a luxury, they are a service, funded by our tuition. Intramurals are not solely designed to “get some exercise” or “have a laugh”; they exist for students who cannot compete at the CIS level to have a similarly competitive experience. To create this atmosphere, intramurals need proper equipment, trained officials, and appropriate venues. Eating a hot dog is pointless without the ketchup, mustard, and relish.
Second, this is your job. Although you have no specific competitor in the “intramural market” to drive your performance, Queen’s as a university has many competitors. I can say, unequivocally, that the University of Victoria’s intramural program provided better facilities (albeit not your problem), more accommodating scheduling, greater accountability from both teams and referees, and superior responsiveness to student disgruntlement—hello!
Duane, I suggest you review the intramurals system you oversee, and rectify the glaring issues that plague Queen’s. It is simply not good enough to “get by” with what we now call Queen’s Intramurals. I graduate this year, so my time here ends, but I write this letter in hopes that you will cure the ailing intramurals program, and give students the experiences they desire and have paid for.
Disgruntled Intramurals Participant – Adon Moss
The opinions expressed in this letter are those of the author’s exclusively. They are not representative of the views of Juris Diction or of its board members.