There is a reason Iowa State University’s Intramural Sports program remains one of the top in the country; because of the dedicated, hard-working, and passionate professionals like Linda Marticke. She is one of the program’s most influential people. For 15 years (1978-1993), she was the only woman on the professional staff org chart.
Marticke grew up in a small Missouri town and always loved sports. She was eager to participate, but her high school didn’t offer a single sport for women. Her quest to convince her parents they should move to a school that did came up short.
Instead, she took matters into her own hands. She turned her dream to compete into a reality. As a sophomore in high school, she helped start a golf program open to women. She went on to participate for three years.
Marticke joined the Rec Services team on September 1, 1976. At that time, Iowa State University was on a quarter system (fall, winter, spring, and summer) instead of the semester system followed today.
Without computers, each team would visit the Intramural Sports office to register by completing a paper entry form. Each residence hall floor, Fraternity, and Sorority would elect an Intramural Chairperson. Each had a mailbox at State Gym and would attend monthly meetings with Marticke and the Intramural team. Flyers around campus and a weekly page in the Iowa State Daily (then sponsored by McDonald’s) announced upcoming sports.
When a new schedule was released and placed in the State Gym mailboxes, Marticke and the Intramural team called each captain to notify them. According to Marticke, many of the beloved Intramural Sports continue to be offered today, but others did not stand the test of time. A few sports no longer offered include the Turkey Trot (a cross country race), Battle of Beef (tug-of-war), Punt-Pass-Kick, and even a canoe race.
44 at Iowa State
“At the time, the Intramural staff parked cars on the Maple-Willow-Larch fields during all of the Iowa State football games to raise money to travel to national conferences.” Marticke recalled.
Marticke has now been working for Recreation Services for 44 years. During this time, Iowa State Intramurals evolved tremendously and not only in its facilities.
“There was the original State Gym, Beyer Hall, Physical Ed Building (Forker), 21 tennis courts north of Beyer Hall, an outdoor ice rink north of Beyer Hall, and only a couple softball fields where Lied Rec is now today.” Marticke mentioned that there were only a few football fields just east of Towers Residence Halls, compared to the 21 we have today.
The Intramural divisions at that time included Union Drive Association, Richardson Court Association, Towers Residence Association Fraternity, Sorority, and Independent. The champions of each division would receive a small trophy. Trophies were replaced in 1977-1978 with what is now a highly coveted Intramural championship t-shirt.
Throughout Marticke’s tenure, sports would come and go. She says it’s difficult to stop offering a sport, but the Intramural program evolves along with the student interests. A sport is typically removed due to declining participation or because new sports are introduced. According to Marticke, co-ed sports are much more popular now than they were 40 years ago.
The addition of modern technology streamlined scheduling and communication, which made Marticke’s job as an Intramural Coordinator much easier.
Marticke and the Intramural team experienced their most unusual year in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic. Ten spring Intramural sports were cancelled and the Southeast Fields Complex renovations put a pause on softball and sand volleyball games. But without missing a beat, the team added the Cyfit combine, team climbing challenge, team trivia challenge, and several Esports to the lineup.
Marticke believes students will love the brand-new softball, soccer, sand volleyball courts, and football fields with lights at the newly renovated Southeast Fields Complex.
The Southeast complex will be a welcomed sight along with Reiman Gardens and Jack Trice Stadium. She’s looking forward to driving by the fields this fall and seeing several softball, sand volleyball, and flag football games.
Marticke accepts that there are things to improve within Intramurals – like complaints about officiating – but the Intramural staff is always trying to find ways to improve the skills of the students.
Marticke believes “Intramurals are important, are a great way to meet other students and to form bonds with members of the same residence floor, Greek house, or club organization.”
One of the most important things Marticke believes Intramurals offers to students is the ability for students that were not skilled enough to play on their high school team to play at a lower skill level in Intramurals and get a chance to participate.
As 100-year anniversary of Iowa State Intramurals continues, Marticke would like to see and hear what Intramurals meant to alumni as well as current students by way of a video montage. She would also like to bring back officiating workshops and classes.
Marticke’s favorite Intramural memories: winning the women’s softball championship in the fall of 1990 and getting a hole-in-one during an Intramural golf tournament at Veenker on September 17, 1989. Another very humbling memory came a few years ago when Marticke’s colleagues nominated her for the 2019 Women Impacting Iowa State University Calendar Award. Marticke always enjoys her colleagues; they’re hard-working professionals, but still like to have fun in the Rec Services office.