Last year I had the opportunity to travel to Denver, Colorado to attend the National Intramural Recreation Sports Association (NIRSA) national conference. I’ve been a member of NIRSA for many years, and it’s an organization that strives to improve the education, and training within the field of collegiate recreation. As a student working on my degrees in recreation I’ve been to many NIRSA events, and conferences over the years. Each time I’ve come away with skills that have helped me take the next step in my development as a professional and person. I’m always amazed at the people I meet, and the sessions I learn from during these events. This week was a unique time as I spent time at the NIRSA National Conference, and then was a volunteer at the NIRSA Regional Basketball Championship at Eastern Washington University.
Currently my full-time job is working as the Director of Recreation at Saint Martin’s University. The skills I and training I get from opportunities through NIRSA have helped shape the direction I’ve taken at my University. It has allowed me to network with other professionals, learn new strategies, and encourage me to continue to try new things. It has also become a great way to educate recreation professionals about Floorball. While I did not do a Floorball presentation I spent time engaging people one on one by educating them about Floorball. I use my experiences starting Floorball at my University and discuss the challenges, and successes that have come along the way. It has become a valuable tool in the process of educating the collegiate recreation world about Floorball.
While collegiate recreation isn’t the only pathway for Floorball growth, it does provide a unique opportunity to attract new players to the sport. Recreation programs across the country are always looking for the next big thing to attract patrons to their buildings and programs. I believe that Floorball is the next big thing for collegiate recreation. The challenge is getting people educated, trained, playing, and sold on why it’s beneficial. NIRSA can help with that process. NIRSA currently offers a championship program in Soccer, Flag Football, Tennis, and Basketball. These tournaments are held across the Nation regionally, and culminate in a National tournament. These tournaments are focused on recreation and club based levels of competition. They allow students the opportunity to participate as players, and officials, while being overseen and trained by graduate students, and professional staff. Depending on the location of the tournament and sport, it is likely to see upwards of 60 teams both Male and Female competing. This format and ability to organize large scale tournaments is what Floorball needs.
I believe that the NIRSA Championship Series could benefit from adding Floorball. It would provide another sports option to their arsenal, and would potentially entice more participation from students. One core component to this process is student and professional development, which is one thing that needs to happen on a large scale for Floorball in North America. There are many hurdles that must be overcome for this to happen, but they are not insurmountable. I believe that if done right this will benefit the collegiate recreation profession, and sport of Floorball greatly. Time will tell how things will play out, but for my money I’m betting on the long game that this will become a reality.