Online IM Leagues Bringing Students Together Through Virtual Fun & Competition

Intramural sports are a staple of the college experience. After all, there’s nothing like playing sports in a fun, laid-back environment without the added pressures that come with varsity athletics. But, due to the coronavirus pandemic, traditional IM leagues were swiftly canceled a few months back.

However, to provide a silver lining in an otherwise-unfortunate circumstance, Penn State Campus Recreation established an esports league to provide a little virtual fun. There, students could compete in popular video games including Rocket League, FIFA, and Fortnite, among others.

As the school year ended and summer began, Campus Rec extended its online leagues into the summer. In addition to the video game leagues that were offered in the spring, Campus Rec added even more, including Words With Friends and trivia.

Sylvain Tchaptchet, the coordinator of Campus Recreation for Competitive Sports, was one of the major contributors to adding Words With Friends and trivia to the esports lineup.

“I have been part of trivia as an intramural event in the past, so we decided to explore ways to offer it on our campus,” Tchaptchet said. “The National Quarantine Quiz, which is conducted every Wednesday at 8 p.m. on Twitch, also had an influence in bringing trivia to Penn State.

“In terms of Words With Friends 2, we believed it was a good starting point to introduce phone games to the campus population. This was an effort to target populations that could not participate in our esports offerings.”

In a time when most people are stuck inside and face-to-face interaction remains limited or nonexistent, online games and sports can be a godsend. They allow for folks from around the country and even world to participate and try out a new sport or activity risk-free.

Students will be returning to campus in the fall, but there has not yet been an announcement regarding the return of in-person, traditional IM sports. But, even if they are to return, it is important to continue the online leagues so that more students can be involved in the Penn State community.

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About the Author

Owen Abbey

Owen Abbey was a Secondary Education major before he graduated from the wonderful institution known as Penn State. When he was not writing for the blog, he enjoyed rooting for the Baltimore Orioles and Ravens, supporting Penn State basketball and softball, dreaming of all of the ways he would win the TV show "Survivor," and yes mom, actually doing school work. All of this work prepared him to teach his own class of students, which was always his true passion. He still can be found on Twitter @theowenabbey and can be reached for questions and comments at [email protected]

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