Sports is one topic that most people on Auburn’s campus can relate to. People play, watch or cheer for their friends who participate. Auburn University’s intramural sports are a great way for many students to find their niche while getting exercise.
Nicholas Head is one Auburn graduate student who not only plays on many of the intramural teams, but he refs every sports’ games. He is now the student coordinator for Auburn’s intramurals.
Head found out about intramurals through his older brother Jason who had been on Auburn’s intramural staff. When Head came to Auburn in the fall of 2002, he quickly signed up to be a part of the organization.
“I grew up around sports,” Head said. “In high school I was the men’s basketball team manager, which I really enjoyed.”
Now, Head participates in all the sports. Some of these include: soccer, basketball, softball, volleyball and horseshoe.
“Basketball is my favorite sport to ref because the game is so fast paced, but soccer is my favorite sport to play,” Head said.
In 2002 during the week of Halloween, Head witnessed a pledge flag football game where one team was losing terribly. When they came back from the half one of the players came onto the field wearing a mask of Barney Rubble from the Flintstones. This is one of many humorous instances Head has experienced on the field.
Training officials is one of the hardest parts of Head’s job. Refs are bound to make poor calls occasionally because being a referee is a learning process. Another tough part of his job is dealing with uncertain weather.
“It may stop raining in time for a game, but you still have to play in the mud,” Head said. “This can tear up the fields, which usually requires a lot of maintenance.”
As the student coordinator for intramural sports, Head oversees five managers and meets daily with the intramural director Ted Trupp. Head works 40 hours a week in addition to his graduate school classes.
“If I was only paid for five hours a week, I’d still be out there every night,” Head said.
Getting to play in the games and interact with all of the students makes Head’s job an enjoyable one.
“When those lights come on and you see previous teams return, freshmen playing intramurals for the first time and friends coming out to support them you know that they must be having fun, ” Head said. “The games give students a break from their busy school schedules.”
The flag football program alone has 230 to 240 flag football teams each season. Basketball and softball have between 150 to180 teams and soccer has 70 to 90 participating teams. There are many categories within most of the intramural sports including: co-rec, men’s, women’s, sorority’s, fraternity’s and pledge teams.
A variety of people play on the intramural teams. Some were former team captains, others are members of SGA or people in the running for Miss Homecoming.
“Intramurals are not just for former athletes. You could have never played a sport a day in your life, and as long as you come out and have fun, we want you here,” Head said.
The new student recreational center will be an additional perk to promoting student fitness, health and intramural sports.
“Everything we have will be refurbished and increase student awareness of the athletic opportunities surrounding them,” Head said.
Head is currently a part of the Physical Education Teacher Education program in graduate school. He is responsible for creating lesson plans for kids, some of which have autism. Campus recreation and Auburn Education are two fields Head has interest in.
“I could teach kids everyday for the rest of my life and be happy, but I would also be happy if I could work with Auburn’s campus recreation for the rest of my life,” Head said.