New sports take aim at the average athlete

by Beacon Staff • September 12, 2007

In addition to the promotion of Kristin Parnell as Director of Athletics, the department plans to introduce new intramural sports and update equipment and facilities.,A new administrator isn't the only change in Emerson's Athletics department this semester.

In addition to the promotion of Kristin Parnell as Director of Athletics, the department plans to introduce new intramural sports and update equipment and facilities.

The Piano Row Gymnasium will be a lot busier this semester, with a basketball tournament, dodgeball tournament and staff volleyball game already on the schedule, according to Parnell.

"The biggest thing I hope for is to have the gym full of people utilizing the space," said Parnell, who took over last month from previous director Rudy Keeling after his appointment as commissioner of the Eastern College Athletic Conference. "It should be a lot of fun."

Aside from special sporting events and tournaments, new intramural sports have found their place at Emerson this year.

Starting Sunday night at 6 p.m., an outdoor co-ed soccer league will open competitions at Rotch Field.

"Depending on the number of people, we'll see how we play it," Parnell said. "If things are a success, we're going to try to get things started for an intramural league second semester."

Piano Row will also host a co-ed basketball tournament, currently scheduled for Nov. 12, in which teams of three will face off in bracket-style competition. A dodgeball tournament will follow on Dec. 2.

Parnell said these new events are all part of her plans to increase foot traffic in the Piano Row Gymnasium and sponsor at least two intramural sports each semester. Aside from the 15 varsity sports offered each year, Parnell hopes to keep four clubs sports and four to six intramural leagues on the schedule as well.

Although some students agreed they may not have the time to participate in an ongoing intramural league, many were optimistic about one-time events.

"I would probably want to participate in a sport, but I don't have the time with everything else that I do," said sophomore screenwriting major Joe Siccardi. "I could see the one-night events being more popular than the leagues because it's less of a time commitment."

Sophomore acting major Jen Flaxman said she would love to participate in a tournament or intramural league, but isn't sure other students will share her feelings.

"I played sports in high school, but didn't have time to play a varsity sport at Emerson," Flaxman said. "Intramurals would allow me to still play without having such a huge commitment. Other students may not have time, though."

Students, however, aren't the only ones to get involved and utilize the gym.

Parnell said an interdepartmental volleyball game is scheduled for Oct. 11, where faculty and staff members will get a chance to see the facilities in a part of campus they may not otherwise visit.

"Since we're in a location that you have to come downstairs to see, if we do something like this, other departments would be able to check out the gym," Parnell said. "We could have instructors and staff from different areas of the school play against each other."

After the first semester sporting events, Parnell hopes to expand the intramural program even further; plans are already in place for the spring's intramural leagues.

"One thing over at Rotch Field this spring would be flag football or ultimate Frisbee," Parnell said. "They used to have ultimate Frisbee over on the Esplanade and it was pretty popular. They had a lot of teams over there."

If the department installs the new volleyball netting system they hope to purchase, intramural volleyball may also be an option for the spring. Other equipment upgrades will include two portable basketball hoops for the gym.

Currently, Parnell is focusing on the present. The athletics department will support four club sports this year: ice hockey, martial arts, men's volleyball and the dance team.

She also hopes to create even more buzz about Emerson sports by promoting games in the gym as well as at Rotch Field.

"Our Student Advisory Committee is going to try to do a couple of events for the students to get more fans at the basketballs games- contests and giveaways, that kind of stuff," Parnell said.

As for Rotch Field, Parnell said 75 to 100 fans have been attending soccer games this season, and hopes more will come out in the future.

"It's been great because they've been really fun games and they're really strong teams," Parnell said. "I just hope students keep coming out to show their support."