You may have recently driven by Southeast Complex and seen the flooded sand volleyball courts. Or maybe you had one or two intramural soccer games canceled due to snow. When it comes to outdoor sports, the weather is always unpredictable, and intramurals are no exception. For those of you who don’t know, there are 55 intramural sports on campus. 16 of those sports are played outside. Between flag football, soccer, ultimate frisbee, and softball; there are over 900 teams that have to be rescheduled in case of bad weather. This is an astronomical amount of organizing, scheduling, and communication that needs to happen between all intramural employees and participants.
To shed some more sunshine on this rainy topic, we talked to Russ Jones, the Director of Intramurals here at Iowa State. Russ has worked for Recreation Services the last 10 years. Below are a few questions we asked Russ about Intramurals, weather, and how he plays a role in all of it.
How often are Intramurals affected by bad weather?
“It depends on the season and the weather. Last fall we canceled hardly any flag football games, but this spring we lost quite a few soccer games due to rain and snow.”
What’s the protocol for canceling or rescheduling?
“We decide the playability of the fields depending on field condition, weather forecast, and temperature. Our number one priority is keeping participants safe, so we always keep that in mind when making decisions.”
We’ve had quite a bit of flooding this summer, how do you get the fields and courts in a playable condition?
“The sand volleyball courts have suffered the most from rain storms. We have lost half of our games due to the flooded courts. For example, I spent 3 hours last Saturday pumping out sand volleyball courts. I estimate that we pumped out around 10,000 gallons of water in the first two courts alone.” (10,000 gallons would fill 200 bathtubs… that’s a lot of bubbles!)
Have you ever had to cancel an entire season due to weather?
We’ve canceled a few one-day golf tournaments and adventure races but never an entire season. This spring we canceled or rescheduled over half of thesoccer games because of snow and rain. It’s the closest we’ve ever come to not playing a single intramural game outside.
Who is in charge of keeping outdoor facilities in tip-top shape?
Brent Cunningham is our go-to man on campus. He is the Assistant Manager of Facilities and Grounds for Recreation Services, and he works alongside Ryan May, his grad student, and other student workers. Together they keep the grass mowed, the sand raked, the lines painted and fields drug before games. Without their hard work, Intramurals just wouldn’t be possible.
I for one didn’t know there was so much involved in setting up outdoor intramurals. Luckily we have a fantastic staff and crew, who work to keep the fields and courts in playable condition. They allow us to play flag football, soccer, ultimate frisbee, golf, and so many other sports. So whenever mother nature comes to call, we will be ready for it. Be sure to check out our list of sports and the fall schedule on our website!