How to Cheer, Play and Get Active in the New School Year
By Liam Farrell
Photo courtesy of Maryland Athletics
From shouting yourself hoarse in stadium stands to competing on the field yourself, the University of Maryland has athletics avenues for Terps of all experience and interest levels.
Besides the fandom fun of rooting for a powerhouse Division I sports institution, students (and in many cases, faculty and staff) can scale new heights on one of the tallest climbing walls on the East Coast, join a national title-contending paintball or Ultimate Frisbee team and work up a sweat in dozens of fitness classes.
Read on for how you can get in the game this year.
If you’re a member of a Maryland varsity team, congrats and good luck! For those of us who will get no closer to the action than the sidelines, tickets are available.
UMD students, faculty and staff can attend any athletics event free of charge except for football and men’s basketball: All you have to do is show a university ID. For women’s basketball, faculty and staff can get free general admission tickets or pay for reserved seats.
For football and men’s basketball, student tickets are covered through their tuition bill’s athletic fee, but they must request them online. Students have to register a new account with their university ID and a personal identification number sent to every new Terp in August—but Jordan Looby, senior assistant athletic director of marketing strategy and fan experience, said they will soon be able to just use their regular university credentials.
“We’ve been working with campus to make this easier,” he said. “It’s a big change for students.”
When student ticket demand exceeds the supply, a “loyalty”-based lottery has the number of entries determined by a student’s class year as well as the number of games they previously attended.
Faculty and staff are offered discounted season tickets for football ($279 lower level, $155 upper level) and men’s basketball ($586 lower level, $504 upper level). Sports also hold faculty and staff appreciation days throughout the season, including the football opener versus Buffalo at noon tomorrow in College Park: Upper-level tickets are $5, and lower-level tickets are $20; they can be obtained through this link.
“We really want to engage and yearn for that interaction and camaraderie with campus,” Looby said of varsity programs.
Terps who want to play on the field or court have lots of options through club and intramural sports activities offered through University Recreation and Wellness (RecWell).
Club sports are student-led organizations recognized by the Student Government Association and supported by RecWell that compete against other schools. There are dozens of options, from ballroom dance and boxing to paintball and rugby, and 4,600 Terps joined up last year.
Faculty and staff can join as well, but some competitions are limited to participants who are enrolled students and require a tryout. There can be nominal fees depending on travel and specialty space requirements, such as for ice hockey or the equestrian team. The first step in joining is to email club contacts, who are all listed in an online directory.
Intramural sports are a great option if you want to play individually or have a group of friends ready to compete together—no tryouts necessary, Terps against Terps, with 7,000 participants last year. Team and individual/dual sports are run as leagues with regular seasons and playoffs. This fall’s offerings include 3-on-3 basketball, 7-on-7 flag football and soccer, as well as golf, spikeball and pickleball, and tournaments in dodgeball, kickball, softball and even cricket.
“They really, truly are open for everybody,” said Brianne Rowh, RecWell’s assistant director for business services and communication and marketing. “You don’t have to have come into college knowing how to fence. It’s a great way to explore a type of recreation you want to get into.”
Looking to burn off some stress or want to take the first steps to becoming more physically active? RecWell has more than 100 fitness programs a week. There’s also the Adventure Program, which offers hiking, mountain biking, paddleboarding and other outdoor recreational opportunities, and a Challenge Course that provides team-building exercises on ropes and obstacles.
UMD students who pay the on-campus student fee can access RecWell facilities and programs with their ID card. Students not paying that fee can purchase memberships ranging from $7 daily to $471 annually; faculty and staff can buy memberships at the same rates.
More than 4,000 people participated last year, and this semester’s list can be found on this schedule. Personal training comes with fees, but the costs are far less for students, faculty and staff than they would be at off-campus gyms, Rowh said.
“Our trainers have the same certifications that a trainer would have at Equinox,” she said. “(Terps) are getting very high-quality trainers.”
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