Opinion: A chance for students to compete in intramural sports

Gil Ladetzky

For many students, the memories they make playing high school sports will stay with them for a lifetime. From losing tough games to winning championships, both the relationships and experiences derived from being part of a team are long-lasting. Redwood’s athletic program consistently performs at a high level, as its teams are known to compete for Marin County Athletic League (MCAL) championships across sports. This past winter, both the boys and girls varsity soccer teams, as well as the boys varsity basketball team won their respective MCAL championships. 

According to athletic director Jessica Peisch,  a total of 1,182 athletes compete on 17 varsity and junior varsity teams this 2021-2022 school year. Sounds like a lot? Not when compared to Redwood’s current student body of 1,935 students. In other words, 45 percent of the student body does not participate in any high school sports. While many students do not play a sport simply because they do not want to or because Redwood does not provide the sport they like, others can not play because they do not make the cut. 

Pesich acknowledges that this competitive environment can deter students from athletic participation. 

 “We are a very competitive school, the skill set is pretty high. It’s hard to come out for a sport if you have never played before,” Pesich said.

However, adding an intramural sports league at Redwood would allow for any student to participate in a broader range of sports outside of the current, highly selective program. In addition, this league would help participants stay in shape and enjoy the benefits of being a teammate. 

While sophomore Jake Werner has earned his place on both the junior varsity lacrosse and football teams, he would enjoy a chance to compete with his friends in a semi-competitive league. 

“I love sports, but sometimes the competitive energy gets too much for me, and I start to lose the love for the game. I would love an opportunity to play with my friends and have fun like you’re supposed to do while playing sports,” Werner said.  

This past winter, a 5v5basketball league was held at Tamalpais High School (Tam) on Sundays, attracting students from all grades at Redwood who couldn’t play this season for high school.

“The games were always so fun, no matter the final score. Just being out there with my friends and having a blast was a joy in itself,” said varsity basketball player and junior Gavin Edelen, who competed in this informal league. 

Similarly, last fall, a Wiffle ball league was held at nearby Joe Wagner field. A group of students were inspired to bring the team spirit to Redwood following this winter league.

“The league was a highlight of this school calendar year. Being able to play with my friends is always fun. We want to try and bring that same energy to Redwood and play a small or big-league here,” sophomore Will Copeland, who won the Wiffle ball championship said.

Currently at Redwood, the Link Crew team has put on a dodgeball tournament during lunch, drawing an extensive range of students to participate and compete in an informal sporting event. The tournament was a great way to get some cardio in and stay in shape for non-athletes. 

“When I first found out about the league I was ecstatic. I loved playing in Middle and Elementary school, so I signed up right away. It has been a great way to stay in shape and have fun,” said Connor Weasler, who competed in the championship.

An intramural sports league has attracted interest and popularity from many students. In a recent Bark survey, 55 percent of respondents said they would participate in an intramural league.

The proposed intramural sports league would be a lunchtime activity. As an extension of the current dodgeball tournament with other sports, all students can participate without having to make it past the cuts for the after school teams. This league would be inclusive to all, providing a co-ed experience that would attract students and friends t

Illustration by Sawyer Barta

o compete with one another. Each month the sport will change. For example, the first month could be a Wiffle ball tournament, and the second could be a Spikeball tournament. Every month new teams can enter or leave the league, and the teams will vote on the game being played. At the end of the month, the team that won the last round will get an advantage in the next month’s tournament.

Engaging students in a school-wide event is essential for not only the student body, but also for the school’s community. Providing an intramural sports league would allow all students the opportunity to represent their school in a fun, positive way. Additionally, a semi-competitive league is just the thing students need to stay in shape. 

“There isn’t a better way to stay active and maintain good health than sports,” Werner said. “You can have fun and be with your friends. What else could you ask for?”