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MIT Has Sports?

By Andrew C. Thomas


Just because you came to MIT doesn’t mean you can sit inside all day at your computer.

Yes, the name of this school does have “Technology” subtly embedded, but this hasn’t stopped Georgia Tech from being an athletic powerhouse. Likewise, MIT has an athletic program diverse enough to make a Phys. Ed. student out of anyone.

Varsity practices and tryouts have already begun; football is in full swing on the field, as is field hockey on the turf. Johnson Athletic Center, currently home to Orientation activities, will have its ice rink reassembled in mid-Oct., in time for the hockey season.

Many varsity teams require no previous experience to join. Fencing, for example, encourages all interested people to try out, no matter what skill level. This has two effects; first, they are opening the door to those who didn’t have the opportunity in high school, but are willing to try; and second, they are able to get a steady stream of prospectives with the hopes of training them to be masters in a short time, then retain them for a four years. Yes, it sounds like a corporate plan, but the end result is to create a family. It always makes me wish I’d tried out when I was a freshman. Or a sophomore.

In other options, club sports offer an alternative to varsity. Ultimate Frisbee is popular and successful here, and is gaining appreciation across the country. The MIT Sport Taekwondo club has recently gained official recognition, despite the fact that the team has been placing well at intercollegiate tournaments for a couple of years now. But as you know, or will soon find out, time is a precious thing, both here and in the world at large. A varsity sport is a big commitment, a club sport no less so.

That’s where the intramural program comes in, which gives staff, students and community members the chance to just have fun, with as little as no ability required. The most popular IM sport is, to many people’s surprise, hockey; each year, around 90 teams register, with about 15 people per roster. Many have little to no experience, some can’t even skate. All that players need are a pair of skates and a stick; the league will loan safety equipment for the duration of a game. For a sport that tends to be prohibitively expensive, the opportunity is hard to pass up.

Even if the limit of your involvement with sports before MIT was FIFA 2003, you have little to lose but weight in checking the scene out. The odds are good you’ll find something to your liking.