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Faculty leagues create connections on campus

Posted on 12.11.2013

Softball swung in successfully and volleyball was a big hit with the faculty as the University of Indianapolis tried out recreational leagues this past summer and fall.
Executive Administrative Assistant in the President’s Office Shanna Brinegar and Executive Assistant to the Executive Vice President and Provost Laura Irmer teamed up to organize both leagues. However, both gave credit to multiple people
who assisted in making the softball and volleyball leagues possible.
Irmer said that many people have been helpful in making the leagues possible, including Assistant Athletic Director for Facilities and Operations Bob Brubeck, graduate students, volleyball players and those who stepped up to be captains.
“Everyone was so supportive and active and played a part in making this happen,” said Irmer.
According to Brinegar, approximately 40 participated in volleyball and 45-50 played softball. Irmer said the responses from the faculty have been positive.
“We have had very great feedback from the faculty and we have even had a few who did not participate in the first round who have since been in the office and have said they definitely plan to sign up for softball in the spring,” Irmer said.
Brinegar said the positive responses have led to increased interaction across campus and helped bring about more community involvement.
“We played Tuesday nights and then Wednesday morning. It was the thing everyone was talking about. It was a lot of fun to reflect on what happened the night before,” Brinegar said. “We had two staff members in the bookstore who were very involved in softball and I think that helped connect them to the campus more and make them feel more in the community.”
Jeffrey Shaw, sales associate for the bookstore, played every Tuesday night. He said that it helped him meet others he does not directly work with.
“[Softball] was very successful because it got a collection of staff [and] faculty together, and we got to know each other. Without the leagues, I wouldn’t have met so many great people from the campus. It was a blast getting to know them, ” Shaw said. “It was really awesome that President Manuel took time out to participate in these leagues. It has been nice getting to know him over the course of the seasons and beating him when he unfortunately is not on my team.”
Besides increasing communication on campus, James Bellew, professor in the Krannert School of Physical Therapy, said the leagues were a success in many ways.
“The leagues were very successful in that they offered faculty and staff an opportunity for interaction outside of work hours and activity that involved physical activity, teamwork, friendly competition and collegiality.”
The weekly softball and volleyball matches created fond memories for the faculty, some that Bellew was glad to share.
“I remember watching the big hitters, Lee Everett and Ed Jones, slug it out of the park like Babe Ruth,” Bellew said.
Shaw shared a few memories from his weeks spent on the diamond.
“I just thoroughly enjoyed playing shortstop in softball, because in the recreational leagues that I am in, I don’t normally play the infield,” Shaw said.  “Seeing how close our team became over the weeks was pretty awesome. We were a competitive bunch, so we meshed well together.”
Irmer said that many are anticipating what will come next for the faculty leagues and coming together in other ways.
“We will definitely continue softball this spring and summer and the volleyball league for next year. We have had talk of kickball, although that is not officially in motion and it is hard to work on that at this time of year. We also have a small group that is training together for the mini marathon,” Irmer said.
Faculty have also been brainstorming ideas for sports they could all come together and compete in.
“I would like to see wrestling,” Bellew said,  joking. “It would be fun to participate in kickball, touch football and possibly bowling.”
Many participants, including Shaw, said they cannot wait to return to the competition and believe that the leagues have been a smashing success.
“No doubt about it. I am counting down the days until we can get back on the diamond. A couple of my teammates and I are planning to start throwing the softball during the winter,” Shaw said. “I think that shows how effective the leagues have been.”


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