The sports behind the scenes

National intramural sports banner
National intramural sports banner

By Andrew Pecukonis

 Nearly a decade ago, intramural sports at Fitchburg State were almost non-existent. Brad Cohrs, a man with a goal of getting an intramural program alive around campus, arrived and helped create a change in that. After the first year, participation took a big jump and created excitement around the campus. With sports available such as basketball, volleyball, and flag football, there is now a variety of sports for anyone to be interested in.

Both Cohrs and the new head of the intramural sports program, Brittany Rende, have big ideas for the program’s future.

“My goal is to get 77 percent of the campus involved somehow in intramural sports,” Rende says. “I would love to see the program get so organized that it nearly runs itself. It would make my job a lot easier.”

Rende adds, “We don’t have to hit the reset button; we have a great basis in place now, we just have to build on it and get the university involved.”

Because Fitchburg State’s student body consists of close to 50 percent commuters, Cohrs and Rende have an extra challenge on their hands.

One factor that helped keep the program running was the installation of the Falcon Cup five years ago.

“This is a great way to keep the program strong,” Cohrs said. “It gets the kids on campus active and gives an opportunity for students to meet some new people.”

This year the school has nine official Falcon Cup teams that play for a prize, such as Red Sox tickets, awarded at the end of the spring.  With competition heating up there are stakes on the line. Officials are needed to call the games accurately and fairly.

“If a student is interested in becoming an official they need a basic knowledge of the sport they are interested in officiating,” Rende explained. “They need to have self-confidence to blow the whistle if they need to. It is as easy as filling out an application which you can find at the Fitchburg State website, or come to my office in the recreation center and knock on my door. That usually turns into an interview process … we have been impressed with the people we have hired so far.”

 “Only about one-third of the officials are under work-study, so all we do is look for qualified individuals,” Cohrs added. “Just come down to the recreation center and talk to either Brittany or I. We will be happy to help you.”

Cohrs also described the qualities he is looking for in potential referees.

“A good official is a well-respected one ,” he said. “Not being afraid to blow the whistle, having the ability to command a room, and having awareness of what is going on are some of the things we look for in a person for this job.”

 With officials needed for all 25 events, students have a great opportunity for a job that is fun and keeps them in contact with sports, he said.

 In fact, he said, “The focus is on fun.”

 The program is free for players but not for teams. A team can sign up for $5 for one event or $40 for all 25 events. Individuals who want to be players can sign up, meet some new people, and stay healthy throughout the year.