Outside on the grounds of UCA, everything seemed normal. But a short walk into the HPER’s Aquatics Center submerged one in a crowd of screaming people watching five canoes splash around in the swimming pool.
During Sept. 13’s Battleship intramural games, different fraternities, sororities and independent teams engaged in boat-to-boat duels, attempting to sink the other canoes in the pool while keeping their own afloat. Participants were given standard equipment: a paddle and two buckets.
But this year, differing from last year, no teams received foam shields. The intramural committee complained that students had used them as weapons, so they discarded the shields for this year.
Even without the shields, the HPER still employed lifeguards to patrol and watch for students trapped under sinking canoes and to make sure no one was struck with a paddle.
Most teams said they had strategized before going into the game. A few teams set up so the students with the buckets were positioned on the outside of the boat, while the paddler was on the inside. Others joined up with one another to sink the other competitors.
Then there were people like junior Chris Lawson. “We kind of just jumped in,” Lawson said. “It was over as soon as we touched our feet to the canoe.”
If one were to look away for even a second, one could miss someone plunging into the water. Bystanders within five feet of the pool were soaked with airborne water, but students still stayed to cheer on their friends and teammates.
Even though Battleship has only been at UCA for a year, Assistant Director of Intramural Sports Logan Wile hopes it will bring more students to the pool. “It’s a good way to get kids out there,” he said. “Some kids aren’t a big fan of having to get in a swimsuit and swim … [so]it’s a good opportunity for them to be in the pool.”
But in the end, his team said intramurals were not about winning or losing.It was for the experience that they had while playing the games. “I feel more connected,” said freshman Denn’warren Tafah, talking about his friend Chris Lawson. “That teamwork – it puts you on a different level.”
After this year’s Battleship ended and the canoes where brought safely to the edges of the pool, students cheered for winning teams and victors were given “Intramural Champion” T-shirts and pats on the back.Although Battleship is done, there are more intramurals quickly approaching.
Co-Rec soccer will take place Sept. 20 and soccer and flag football intramurals are Sept. 21.Sept. 17 is the last day to sign up for these intramurals, so students who want to sign up should do so soon.There will also be more intramurals coming in spring, including another round of Battleship.