In the spirit of competition and dodgeball

The basketball player receives a break-away pass and finishes his shot with a reverse lay up. The impressive play leads to “ooooos” from fellow players and the few onlookers. There is no crowd chanting, no scorer’s table, and definitely no TV cameras.Player Nick Bennett flashes the same smile he had during some of his biggest high school games.

Bennett is a sophomore at Castleton and an intramural sports athlete who also plays intramural dodgeball and wiffleball.

“I played basketball in high school,” said Bennett referring to his decision to play intramurals at CSC. “And dodgeball is dodgeball, it’s not exactly a game that is offered in high school sports.”

In addition to being an avid intramural sports athlete, Bennett also referees for the program.

According to Castleton’s Web site, the college offers 10 intramural sports open to both men and women and the program seems to keep expanding. Boot Hockey was added this fall and wiffleball expanded from six teams in spring 2008 to 12 this spring.

Men’s hockey Coach Alex Todd is now in his second year heading the intramural program at Castleton.

“I like to think it has changed for the good,” Todd said. “It’s been getting more and more organized.”

Todd is no stranger to running intramural sports.

“I was in charge of intramural sports my senior year [at Union]. I played softball as well,” Todd said.

Students who play intramurals seem to enjoy the laid-back atmosphere and friendly encounters.

“There’re no practices, no mandatory conditioning, and you get to play with your friends,” Bennett said. “I played intramurals over at Keene State.” Keene’s are way more intense. They hold their intramurals on the weekend. Castleton just has them on the weeknights. And you even have to pay money for some sports at Keene.”

Bennett was asked whether or not he preferred Castleton’s more laid back program.

Senior Josh Manley left his glory days behind to join the ranks of a Castleton intramural athlete as well. Manley also played basketball in high school, but left after two years and played for his Church Youth Organization with a few friends.

“I don’t really have the time to try out for a varsity sport,” said Manley in the midst of watching snowboarding videos and sipping a Utica Club, his hometown brew.

“I don’t have the time to dedicate my life to it.”

When Bennett, Manley, and Castleton junior Eric Hall were asked if they believed intramural sports were important, all three responded instantly.

“Oh for sure!” exclaimed Hall. “I think it adds a little competitive edge between certain groups of people and friendly rivalries.”

Manley agreed saying it helps him remain active and he can play with his closest friends.

Manley and Hall, unlike Bennett, captured the rare intramural championship this past fall, winning in flag football.

“It was the highlight of my life man! I don’t think I’m gonna top it!” joked Manley. “Really, it was cool. It felt good.”

Hall was a teammate of Manley’s on that historic team.

“It was pretty exciting,” said Hall smiling. “When it came down to that last defensive play, my team made the goal line stand.”

Bennett says he’s still searching for an intramural championship.

“Well, uh, ever since the first day I set foot on campus I’ve been seeking an intramural championship t-shirt. I’ve come up close several times in the playoffs and that shirt has eluded me. And maybe one day, because I still have two more years, that shirt will be in my grasp,” Bennett said, laughing.

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