Kaycee Orwig | Senior Staff Photographer
From sunrise to sunset, Division I student athletes are tasked with balancing a full academic workload with morning workouts, practices and other program activities. While some students may have loved being a high school athlete, they may not have the time or abilities to carry that over to the college level.
Fortunately, Pitt has a plethora of options that allow students to stay active without having to make the same degree of commitment to play a Division I sport. Whether you’re looking to play competitively or just to pass time with friends, there is no shortage of opportunities at Pitt.
Club sports are a way that students can play in an organized and competitive fashion without varsity-level commitment. Club teams generally involve high school-like attributes such as tryouts, practices and traveling to games, but don’t have the intense competition and time commitment of varsity sports. While the time commitment for each club sport varies, it typically involves several practices a week on top of games scattered throughout the semester.
Club teams compete against other club-level teams from other universities in the area. Pitt frequently plays other big-name schools from the region such as Penn State, Ohio State and Robert Morris universities.
For those looking for a more laid-back setting, intramural sports are another popular on-campus option. Pitt Campus Recreation offers intramural sports such as cornhole, dodgeball, kickball, pickleball and volleyball. Intramural sports are generally held in one of Pitt’s many on-campus venues, namely Trees and Bellefield halls.
Personally speaking, after having played baseball for more than a decade before enrolling at Pitt, I knew I would miss participating in athletics and the overall feeling of competition. Fortunately, I quickly found out that I would still have the opportunity to partake in the activities that I enjoyed in high school.
Beginning my Pitt experience during the now-anointed “COVID Year” was an interesting experience to say the least. My friends and I struggled to find things to do after classes or during weekends, so we decided to join an intramural dodgeball league.
We made the walk to Trees Hall every Monday and played dodgeball for an hour or so. It was a welcome break from the usual grind of classes and work, especially in a year riddled with restrictions on what you could do and uncertainty about the pandemic. It was certainly one of the bright spots of my first year.
But club and intramural sports aren’t for everyone — there are still options for students to remain active and competitive while still taking classes and doing work outside of the classroom. Pitt’s numerous green spaces and fitness centers allow students to operate at their own pace. When the weather starts warming up, students will frequently run into many of their peers playing sports like Spikeball, throwing a frisbee or tossing around a football on the Cathedral lawn, outside Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Hall or around upper campus.
Pitt’s accessibility to green spaces is something I really enjoyed in my first year. Considering the limitations on what we could do from a social standpoint, going outside on a nice day was something no one took for granted. Some of my best memories from last year came on the Cathedral lawn with my friends playing anything from Spikeball to cornhole.
Whether incoming first-years are looking to continue to play the sports they love or just stay physically fit, there is certainly a wide range of options to choose from and build around the wants and needs of anyone.