Auburn University is known for its football team. The Auburn Christian Student Center (ACSC) is known for its intramural football teams and their willingness to include anyone who wants to play on their teams.
According to Matt Snow, a senior at Auburn University and a captain of an ACSC intramural football team, the idea of making random teams out of the pool of students who would like to play intramurals but do not have a team to play with came from a female student in their ministry. She was not pleased with how much emphasis was put on winning the games.
She noticed that people who were active in the ministry would sit out for entire games because they were not as fast as the other players or did not have developed hand-eye coordination. “She brought the fact that we, as a whole ministry, were focusing too much on the ‘who’ we were wanting on our teams instead of the ‘why’ we have teams in the first place,” Snow said.
The ACSC has since made a change in the way they handle intramural sports. For the past three years they have formed up to eight different teams, each with positions only half filled with students who attend the ACSC. The other half of the team is filled with students who sign up to play intramurals through Campus Recreation, but do not have a team to play on.
“Do we win championships, no,” Snow admitted. “But we probably have the most fun of any of the teams out there. Instead of doing intramurals in a competitive way, we do intramurals in a relational way. I have met some of my best friends out on the field and it is because we picked them up when they had no one to play with.”
Auburn University Campus Recreation offers four different intramural sports during the fall semester and seven during the spring semester. If the ACSC allows for only 10 students to play with them in each sport, then that would allow 110 students to participate in intramurals when they would not get to play otherwise. They are facilitating this opportunity for quite a few more.
“A team provides a really close sense of community with people,” Snow said. “Especially right now, at the beginning of the semester, people are looking for a place to fit in. If we can give that to them, then we have accomplished our goal.”