Pros:Cost, fun, sportsmanship
Cons:Low number of games, Low quality softballs,
I am a student at Washington State University. I started as a Biology Education major in 1992. That was the same year I started to play intramural softball. My first few years were fun. I was not on a competitive team. We went out to have a good time and get to know each other. In 1996, I had changed majors to Philosophy/Pre Law, I also switched softball teams.
The team I joined was one I started up. It was comprised of people living in Stephenson East, a residence hall at WSU. I was a senior, and the majority of the team was made up of freshmen. Since then we have played together. There have been many changes to the team, but several members have remained through out.
In 1998, I graduated from WSU but continued to take classes. I am now finishing up my Biology degree.
Going into this up coming season, Fall 2000, our team will have only three original members. However, one of the original members will return after taking about 2 years off. Overall the team has made the playoff’s consistently. We have a website at http://22.214.171.124/nadirs.
The intramural softball program at WSU has been a steady source of entertainment for hundreds of students each year. The school has two seasons, one in the fall and one in the spring. For students who play in summer softball leagues, the intramural seasons are great. The fall season serves as one last chance to play before the snow and cold weather hits. The spring season serves beautifully as a “spring training” similar to that of major league baseball.
The season for the men is made up of 6 games, usually double headers. Then with a 3 and 3 record or better, that team will have earned a playoff berth. Playoff’s can add about 5 or 6 more games to the season.
The umpires are WSU students who are trying to make a little extra money. Many of them play intramural softball themselves. They are not as well training as the umpires in the local umpires association, but they do an adequate job. There is only one umpire per game, until the playoffs when a second umpire is added.
The fees are reasonable: $30 per team. The league supplies softballs which can be checked out by the teams in the league. The balls the intramural program has recently adopted are very unsatisfactory. They are mush balls. This causes severely restricted flight. The balls often bounce much higher than normal softballs. Each team has the option of bring their own softballs to use. The only requirement is they are red stringed.
The fields are adequate. It is a complex with four softball fields. It is an all grass field which gets really muddy with the poor weather conditions which sometimes exist on the Palouse. There are no infield fences, so there are many balls which travel out of bounce. The backstops are small, but they serve their purpose. The outfield fences are a good softball playing depth.
The rhythm of the game is that of a normal summer league softball game. The rules are loosely based on the USSSA. One major difference is the starting ball and strike count is 1 and 1. Games are 6 innings or “no new innings after 55 minutes” which ever comes first. Score keepers are not supplied. The team at bat is required to keep score. The umpire will check for accuracy between innings.
All in all the intramural softball program offers a wonderful experience to beginning softball players and teams which can play in the non-competitive leagues. It offers competitive leagues for teams and players who want a challenge. The price of play is fair.
Some improvements which could make a higher quality experience would include more regular season games, more umpire training, return to normal softballs, regular starting ball and strike count, and longer games. This would be more expensive, but it would be worth the additional costs.
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