Duke University is world renowned for two things — its bright, young scholars and the highly successful basketball program. You might imagine that the two worlds of educational pursuits and athletic endeavors operate on different spheres and never collide, but that is where you would be mistaken. For many of the young minds who tirelessly toil in the classroom or relentlessly do research in the library, there is one option, ferociously compete on the fields of battle known to many as intramurals.

Lifeng Wang — one of our best players!

Depending on your personality and competitive nature, or lack thereof, Duke’s intramural league is the single best way to meet new people or instantly make enemies — it is up to you! Students can enlist a group of friends or classmates and participate in a myriad of sports like soccer, flag football, basketball, volleyball and others. Interestingly enough, there are several different leagues within every sport, so you can choose the skill level of your opponents and subsequently size up your team. Every game feels like the real deal as you play under the lights, while real officials run up and down the field and each team vies for an all-valuable playoff spot with a shot at the championship game.

MMS soccer team
MMS soccer team huddles for a pep talk.

Each week the brightest minds of our university square off in fierce competition, risking life and limb all for that one glorious moment when they can proudly wave the T-shirt given to the last team standing. But for me it was never about the T-shirt or the millions offered by pro scouts, I did it to be part of the team. There are few  better ways to form bonds with your classmates than to participate in intramurals. It is a truly unifying experience. It can be particularly helpful if you are playing against a different school or major, as this breeds a lot of chest puffing and inevitable temper flaring. Overall, intramural sports are a great way to see your classmates in a different context and appreciate other skills that they may not be able to display during the week. Said one MMS student of intramurals, “It is weird to see you guys being athletic.” Though not the most glowing endorsement, I promise what she meant was that watching or participating with your teammates is an immensely rewarding experience, and will create many lasting memories.

To prospective students, we cannot say enough how great the MMS program is, but what we can say is that you need to brush the dust off of those old soccer cleats and practice up because there is fierce competition from all sides. To current students: if you would like to participate in a new season of intramural sports, please contact the representatives from the MMS Sports Club and come out for a few games. To students from other Duke schools (especially the law school — you know who you are), GAME ON!