Although many words could be used to describe the College’s intramural teams, perhaps one word will give a clue as to how they’ve performed recently: dominance. UMSL’s fall intramural program has six sports, and the College of Optometry (COO) had a presence in all of them. The fall sports are outdoor soccer, sand volleyball, kickball, wiffleball, three-on-three basketball, and four-player volleyball.

So far this fall, the COO has four championship teams!

Eyeballs of Fury (1) COED CHAMPS
The Eyeballs of Fury (1st years) won coed outdoor soccer.

Dan Bettman, Assistant Director of Competitive Sports at the Campus Recreation Center, attributes this to having the maturity that comes with being in a professional program. He said the optometry students are “in it for the right reasons” and that they know how to treat opponents and officials. Our students are appreciated by the Recreation Department because they participate in everything and are organized. The clever eye-related team names add a fun element, even if other teams don’t always know what they mean!

Going, Going, Gonio MENS CHAMPS (1)
Team Going, Going, Gonio (2nd years) won men’s wiffleball

First-year student Logan England has truly enjoyed being involved in intramurals. He has played sand volleyball, wiffleball, basketball, and soccer. He says that playing intramurals helps him stay active and have fun with classmates. England says, “…knowing that I have a game coming up gives me something to look forward to throughout the week.” Despite the pressures of beginning a professional program, England reports that his classmates are well rounded and that everyone has a talent outside of the classroom. He adds, “We hate to lose!” Look for the class of 2021 to continue their achievements in years to come.

Strike 1, or 2 COED CHAMPS (1)
Strike 1, or 2? (2nd years) won coed wiffleball.

Second-year student Abby Smith played kickball and wiffleball this fall. She feels that participating offers a great way to relieve stress: “It’s worth it to make time in my study schedule to play.” She enjoys bonding with classmates outside of school. When asked why the optometry teams are so strong, she said, “Good communication—we work well together on a regular basis.” Abby also reports that our students cheer each other on enthusiastically. “I’ve lost my voice during games!”

Superior Obliques CHAMPS (2)
The Superior Obliques (2nd years) won coed kickball

One of the third-year intramural co-chairs, Benjamin Wehner (’19), reports that intramurals have been an extremely important part of his UMSL experience: “At the start of the first year of school, we used intramurals as an opportunity to get to know our classmates. Some of my best friendships in optometry school were formed at the rec!” Wehner’s duties as co-chair include attending meetings, learning the rules, and scheduling the teams.

We wish the teams luck on the upcoming spring season. Perhaps we can add pickleball champs to the list of accomplishments!

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