Intramurals - Why should I play IMs?

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There are many good reasons to play intramural sports, but then again there are good reasons to do a whole lot of things at Harvard. But consider what you will miss by not playing IMs:

House Community

The intramural fields (and courts, and pools and rinks..) are one of the best places to meet other Leverites and feel a sense of community in the House.

In the 2007-2008 school year, the IM Reps estimate that over 200 Leverites participated in IM sports.

Exercise

Exercise reduces stress, releases endorphins, increases energy levels, and keeps your mind sharp.

Tal Ben-Shahar, the popular Harvard "Positive Psychology" Professor, includes exercise in his Six Happiness Tips:

"5. Remember the mind-body connection. What we do — or don't do — with our bodies influences our mind. Regular exercise, adequate sleep, and healthy eating habits lead to both physical and mental health."

President John F. Kennedy believed even more in the value of fitness, viewing it as a sign of the strength of a nation, and did perhaps the most of any President to encourage fitness for Americans. We don't know if he played intramurals when he lived in Winthrop, but he was on the Harvard sailing team. In 1960 as President-elect, he wrote an article in Sports Illustrated entitled "The Soft American", calling attention to America's declining physical fitness, and extolling the merits of a sound body:

"For physical fitness is not only one of the most important keys to a healthy body; it is the basis of dynamic and creative intellectual activity. The relationship between the soundness of the body and the activities of the mind is subtle and complex. Much is not yet understood. But we do know what the Greeks knew: that intelligence and skill can only function at the peak of their capacity when the body is healthy and strong; that hardy spirits and tough minds usually inhabit sound bodies.

In this sense, physical fitness is the basis of all the activities of our society. And if our bodies grow soft and inactive, if we fail to encourage physical development and prowess, we will undermine our capacity for thought, for work and for the use of those skills vital to an expanding and complex America.

Thus the physical fitness of our citizens is a vital prerequisite to America’s realization of its full potential as a nation, and to the opportunity of each individual citizen to make full and fruitful use of his capacities."