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Faculty softball league is a hit

Posted on 08.21.2013

While University of Indianapolis student athletes geared up for fall sports over the summer, the new faculty and staff softball league was already in full swing.

Assistant Vice President of Institutional Planning and Research Patrick Alles said that the idea for a recreational softball league had been batted around for some time. According to Alles, what it lacked was organization.

So he, Executive Assistant to the Executive Vice President and Provost Laura Irmer and Executive Administrative Assistant in the President’s Office Shanna Brinegar, stepped up to the plate.

Alles said that the turnout was great and he expects the league to continue next summer and hopefully attract more players.

“I think we will not only do it but have more teams play next year,” he said.

According to Irmer, just under 50 faculty and staff members signed up for the league, including UIndy President Robert Manuel. The four teams played one game every Tuesday evening for nine weeks at UIndy’s Baumgartner Field.

Irmer said that it would not have been possible to arrange everything without help from the athletics department.

“We had a lot of support from Sue Willey and the students in athletics who worked as umpires. And without them, none of this would have happened,” she said.

One of those students was senior exercise science major Dajana Jovanovic. She said that it was nice to have the final say over professors and administrators for a change.

“It’s not every day that you get to ‘call out’ the president of your university,” she said.

Jovanovic said that being active is always good, especially when you can have fun doing it. However, she said that she did not expect to see her instructors move so swiftly.

“I’m actually surprised at some of their abilities,” she said.

According to Irmer, some of the participants had played in other leagues, while others, like herself, had not played since junior high. She said that the varying degree of abilities made it hard to create fair teams, so she caught a lot of flak when her team ended up being really good.

However, Irmer said that everyone seemed content with the way the league brought a wide range of university employees together.

“We definitely had a range of ages … from our resident assistant guys to some of our longstanding faculty and staff,” she said. “We had people from the bookstore. We had faculty from all different disciplines, and staff from all different disciplines.”

Alles said that there are many more potential players who work at the university, and he hopes that they will join next year. He said that he hopes to expand to six teams and create a substitution pool for faculty and staff who want to play but cannot commit to every week.

“I’ve since learned that people felt that if they chose to play, they wouldn’t be able to play enough,” he said. “ … I still think there’s a lot of people who would love to play, maybe played in high school or college, but are afraid.”

Alles said that there were no major injuries during any of the games. He said that they wanted to make sure that the competition was sportsmanlike and did not force people to get too emotionally caught up in the gameplay. According to him, personal safety was more important to everyone than winning.

“You certainly don’t want to put anyone in a situation that they can’t handle,” he said. “There was no major moment as far as an injury. …The absence of any real ‘thing’ was a good thing.”

Alles said that playing in the league was about more than competition. It helped him to put faces to names that he often hears. He said that he hopes it was an icebreaker for future events.

“I think that the whole point of this was to bring people together in a non-work environment,”  he said. “ … It was more than just people like me, who are new, learning names. It was pretty much everybody who played.”

Irmer said that the organizers intend to continue this trend with the faculty and staff volleyball league, which starts this month.

“In that way, too, we’ve inspired more cohesive activities for people on campus,” she said. “They’re even talking about getting together a bowling league.”


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