The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Thursday March 30th

A first-year student's guide to playing pickup sports on UNC's campus

<p>Members of UNC Running club run together in masks across Hooker Fields to warm up on Friday, Sept. 4, 2020. They are happy to be able to continue practicing together with new precautions in place amid the COVID-19 pandemic.</p>
Buy Photos Members of UNC Running club run together in masks across Hooker Fields to warm up on Friday, Sept. 4, 2020.

UNC is a school known for its accomplished varsity programs, but the University also offers levels of sports for everyone.

For students looking for a more casual way to get involved with sports, there are also a variety of locations across campus that offer pickup games for students.

Basketball courts can be found at Woollen Gym, Rams Head Recreation Center, South Campus Recreation Complex, North Campus Recreation Complex and several residence halls including Hinton James, Morrison and Craige. 

“I really enjoy going to Woollen Gym with a group of friends,” rising senior Laolu Charles said. “What makes Woollen Gym so good is that there are so many courts to the point where it is a rarity to not be playing. Also, one of the easiest ways to make new friends is by playing basketball at Woollen, because many students play there all the time throughout the week.” 

Volleyball is also a popular sport on campus that hosts frequent pickup games. There are three sand volleyball courts located at the South Campus Recreation Complex. Many residence halls have sand courts as well.

“I loved having the volleyball courts right outside the freshman dorms because they were an awesome opportunity to start or join a game of volleyball on the weekend and after classes.” rising sophomore Jackson Peden said. “It was a great way to unwind from studying and gave me an extra way to be active that didn’t feel like the time commitment of a workout. I met a bunch of people through these games and got even closer with the friends I met elsewhere and played with.” 

For students interested in playing soccer, Hooker Fields is a solid option. Hooker Fields hosts pickup soccer games as well as several intramural sports. It can be found across from the main entrance of Carmichael Arena.

“One of my favorite memories at Carolina was playing soccer on Hooker Fields, enjoying the sunset," Charles said. "And Roy Williams came up to watch our casual soccer game. We were able to get a picture with him and it was something I won’t forget."

Some other popular ways to get involved with organized sports are through intramural and club sports. 

Students can sign up for intramural sports on the UNC Campus Recreation website. No experience is required to join an intramural team. Students can put a team together with their friends or join a team and meet new people. 

For those interested in a higher level of commitment and competition, a club team might be a better fit. Information about the different club sports offered at UNC can be found on the Heel Life website.

“My advice would be to go to club fairs and try out intramural sports," rising junior Shelby Koelz said. "Battleship is my favorite. Look for a club sport to join even if it’s something you’ve never tried before."

Regardless of what level of competition students are interested in, there are plenty of opportunities to get involved with sports and meet new people.  

“My advice would be to not be afraid of joining clubs or casually playing sports," Charles said. "It is a great way to meet people of similar interests that may end up being your closest friends in college.”  


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