Julia M. Snyder
Intramural sports are a fun opportunity for students to get active, and bond with their friends.
Though Millersville Intramural sports differentiate between competitive leagues and leagues that are designed for purely recreational purposes, their mission statement states “the mission of the Intramural program at Millersville University is to provide the university community an opportunity for enjoyable competition through a variety of organized sport activities as well as a safe and fun work environment.”
These leagues are monitored by student authorities, which can occasionally result in minor disagreements. There is room in IM leagues for spirited debate, but not for condescension of mildly veiled bullying.
IM softball team “Meal Plan” has reported dismay at the actions of the umpires and officials at one of their late-night games. According to both team members and spectators, the officials who were meant to be ensuring that the game was being played fairly, began belittling players.
The attitude of the officials towards the players came off as very condescending.
“Meal Plan” is a team that is solely focused on recreation; however, due to a lack of interest in a recreational league, the team was placed into the competitive league.
To their surprise, when a player was caught making a mistake, the officials could be heard making negative comments at the expense of the player.
Team member Jeff Harrison played pitcher during the game and was forced to leave the mound halfway through the game.
His original reaction to the events of the evening were not to be upset, but once he became aware of the true attitudes of the officials, he was disappointed in the idea that his team members were being mocked.
“We aren’t playing… for the school. We know our ability isn’t there but we don’t expect to face comments by employees who have no vested interest in the game except a paycheck… Maybe some trash talk from the other team is understandable, but it’s a role issue,” said Harrison.
Even spectators were surprised at the tone of officials when they were told that they had to move off of benches where they had sat to watch the game. “Just as a person viewing it [the game], it was not fun.” said one bystander.
The officials in charge of keeping score also reportedly left their table to stand closer to the umpires and discuss the mistakes of the players. This seemed counterproductive to the players, since the score seems vital to the spirit of the competitive league.
Gordon Nesbitt, Associate Professor/Director of Campus Recreation and Allison Yarrow, Coordinator of Intramurals were surprised to hear that players in the softball league had complaints.
MU Intramurals does allow players to formally complain about instances of misconduct, but these complaints are rare. Players are also allowed to protest and respectfully debate both game rules and discretionary calls.
Nesbitt and Yarrow have stated that any further complaints should be addressed directly to them.
Each game hosts a minimum of at least 4 separate individuals to ensure that the game is played fairly; an official/ set of officials, a supervisor, a recreation manager and a graduate assistant.
These officials have all completed three nights of training and are held to a code of conduct. The code of conduct focuses on professionalism, punctuality, customer service and communication.
More information about MU Intramural leagues can be found at http://www.millersville.edu/campusrec/intramural/index.php