More than Just a Game: Using Sports to Enhance Your Social Life

By: Avi (Joseph) Kozlowski, UMD Intramural Sports Participant

The other day, a friend approached me and asked me why I play so many sports. (Over the course of my eight semesters in college, I’ve developed the reputation of being the “Intramural King,” as they like to put it).

Without thinking, I responded with my typical answer, “Because it’s fun.” I could tell he didn’t find the answer sufficient, so I continued, “It’s one of the few things I do that, while I’m doing it, there’s nothing else I’d rather be doing.” He still didn’t seem satisfied and asked a follow up question: “But what is it about sports that you love, like why are you so happy playing them?” At first I responded with the classics: the competition, the exercise, the feeling of accomplishment, the confidence boost, the clarity of mind.

But as I gave those responses, I realized there was something else, something I had never realized, about the way I intertwine sports into my life — the people.

Growing up, I played as many sports as I could. From Wheaton Boys and Girls Club to my primary education sports teams to rec leagues and even camp leagues, I just couldn’t stay away. I was always excited for every game and team practice, and would regularly play pick-up games with friends whenever possible.

However, when thinking about the countless hours I spent playing/practicing the various sports, it hit me that I almost never played or practiced by myself.

Sports is more than a personal activity for me. I use sports to enhance my social life.

I regularly organize sports games and bring as many of my friends as possible together to enjoy the activity. While in college, I’ve had the privilege of playing in over 65 Intramural sports teams, with hundreds of different students at UMD, all of whom I can confidently say are true friends of mine.

Sharing the bond of being someone’s teammate, and having his or her back on the field, creates an equal bond off the field that lasts forever.

That is why I love sports so much.

Beyond the beauty of them and the friendly competitiveness and the confidence booster they provide, sports create long-lasting relationships with people who are worth knowing.

I highly encourage everyone reading this to take advantage of the myriad of intramural sports and athletic facilities that UMD has to offer. Trust me, you’ll miss them when you’re gone.