By Emily Whitaker Contributing Writer
Every night since the school year started, students are going to the outdoor rec courts to play sand volleyball, basketball, tennis, and pickle-ball. Participants say that last year’s COVID-19 restrictions along with a growing uneasiness surrounding the virus made it tough to socialize. However, much has changed with the start of this semester.
“Courts are always used a great deal during the first several weeks of school…[and] this year was no exception,” said Sue Weaver, Director of Campus Recreation. Students say the recent improvements made to the courts are a contribution to the popularity.
Joshua Janis, a student who goes to the rec courts multiple times a week, estimated there are “75% more students going out to play each night compared to last year.” Another student by the name of Colby Arnold goes to the courts about four to six times a week and believes there is “only about a 55-60% increase” in students playing each night.
The popularity of these courts is due to a multitude of reasons. The first being that they are a “way to step away from homework and be active and social,” Janis said. Students are also able to play intramural sports such as sand volleyball and the newly famous pickleball which can be found and signed up for on the Cru Rec mobile app.
The Campus Rec Instagram page promotes these intramural sports and different ways to get active. Along with spreading the word, they also post tips to keep yourself healthy even if you are not going to play each night.
Recently, the outdoor recreational courts got a new and improved look. According to Weaver, “all new sand was in- stalled on the volleyball courts, all court surfaces were refinished with a new coat of the specialized paint, two of the old tennis courts were transformed into six new pickleball courts, and new glass backboards were installed and new single-rimmed, break away rims were installed.” Janis and Arnold both enjoy the newer aspect of the rec courts and believe it plays a factor in the rise in popularity.
During the 2020-2021 school year, the campus implemented restrictions set in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and the rec courts were no exception. According to Weaver, intramural play was kept to “sports that are naturally more distant of other players.” They also set up hand sanitizer stations around the courts. This year there are no COVID restrictions, however Weaver tells us that once intra- murals start again, they “will provide hand sanitizer on the side of the courts.”
According to the UMHB website, campus recreation has “something fun and active for every BODY.” This includes sand volleyball, basketball, tennis, and pickleball outside along with an open indoor court, aerobics room, weight room, and pool.