Tournaments Create Social Environments


Recently, Texas A&M University Commerce Campus Recreation hosted a sand volleyball and Spikeball tournament.

Katie Thomas, the assistant director of Intramural and Club Sports, said they planned the tournaments to coincide with the busy schedule the last week and a half of the semester typically embodies.

“With the semester coming to a close and final projects due, we like to be mindful of our student’s time and plan one to two-day tournaments during this time,” she shared.

While Spikeball and sand volleyball are very similar sports, they pull different participants on campus. Thomas said as such, it’s not a big issue in hosting both tournaments in the same week. “Hosting them within the same week is really no different than offering a Cornhole or KanJam tournament within the same week as sand volleyball,” she explained. “We actually also offered the Campus Rec Games which was a field day style of competition this week as well. It was a busy week for us for sure.”

Top Takeaways on Tournaments

In putting together the tournaments, Thomas learned some lessons along the way she shared for other professionals to benefit from:

  1. “In planning these events, we take into account all other activities also taking place on the days we program,” said Thomas. “While all schools have programming conflicts, on a small campus, it is extremely important to work with campus partners such as student activities, Greek life and athletics.”
  2. “Depending on the campus culture, some teams just come to play recreationally while others come to win,” she shared. “In our small school, we do not have enough teams to divide into a recreational and competitive division, so all teams play together. For us, developing pool play into the tournament structure versus just an elimination bracket allows for all teams to get a few games before moving into the elimination bracket.”
  3. “Providing a variety of sport options throughout the year is a key part of our program development,” explained Thomas. “We try to offer programs beyond the typical sports to bring new, unique sports to our campus. Within this semester, we offered Disc Lacrosse and the Campus Rec Games as brand-new sports.”

The overall hope for the tournaments was to create a social environment for students who have been stuck online. Thomas shared Intramural Sports and the programs offered through Campus Recreation have been one of the few social outlets. And this year, that’s more important than ever to provide.

“The benefits of our sports programs are that we create a social environment and allow students to develop lifelong healthy habits of playing sports,” she said. “The social portion is very important this year.”

Images courtesy of Texas A&M University Commerce

Heather Hartmann
Heather Hartmann is the editor for Campus Rec Magazine. She can be reached at

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