Intramural sports have long played a part on Asbury’s campus, but they’ve undergone growth in new ways over the past three years. Clark Kendall was selected to serve as resident director for Johnson Hall at the beginning of the 2014 school year and got involved with the intramural program upon his arrival.
It was a perfect fit; Kendall was an Asbury alum that had served as a Resident Director and Intramural Director for three years at Letourneau University in Texas. When he first came back to Kentucky to complete his Master’s, he spent some time on campus observing how the intramural program was operating.
What he saw wasn’t immediately encouraging. For many years, intramurals had been under the umbrella of the athletic department where it experienced a lack of strong direction. The year before Kendall’s arrival, the program was shifted into the charge of the administration, more specifically the Office of Residence Life.
“Before it changed over to residence life, it was in pretty bad shape,” Kendall said. “There wasn’t really any sense of consistency or anything to grow off of…it was pretty low participation.
Together with the associate dean of residence life Joe Bruner, Kendall began to lead the program in a more progressive direction. While some diehard participants would come out for anything, Kendall wanted to reach a different population. “The folks that don’t play sports usually aren’t going to play the more traditional sports,” he said. “We wanted to reach out to a different type of population, doing some fun things and keeping it purely recreational to gain some different interests.”
Together with student staff, Kendall began exploring what new directions intramurals could go. The goal of the program was simple: provide a way for people to take a break from the stress of classes and jobs. Through surveys, brainstorming and seeing what other schools were doing, the revamped intramural program began taking shape.
“I saw intertube water polo first four or five years ago at University of Michigan,” Kendall said. “Nerf Battle Arena was one [event] we came up with that we hadn’t seen done anywhere else…I have an awesome student staff that can tell me if I have bad idea or a good idea.”
This spring, the intramural lineup expanded even more with the addition of eSports and Sand Volleyball. All told, 12 different sports and a handful of special tournaments take place throughout the year.
“There has been so much growth in for our program in the last three to four years,” said senior intramural coordinator Jeremiah Law. “We have seen growth in participation and have made intramurals a more diverse program.”
For Kendall, it was all part of the plan. “It’s just one little sliver of the vibrant life on campus that we have,” he said. “There’s a lot of good things that are going on and we want to have a program that people can depend on and have fun with. Something that adds to the life here.”
Article and photo originally published in the Asbury Collegian