Town Square

Post a New Topic

Have Intramural Sports disappeared?

Original post made by Intramural Sports at Paly or Gunn, Fairmeadow, on Jan 20, 2012

I am looking for a non-competitive team sport for my teen at Paly. It seems that neither Paly nor Gunn have such a thing. When I was young ( as all old people say when starting a topic like this), we had intramural sports for those not "up to" the commitment of an official team sport, but who still wanted the fun of playing sports.

Am I missing something, or are there really no intramural, lower key sports at Paly or Gunn? Do all kids really have to choose all or none in sports?

Comments (15)

Like this comment
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 20, 2012 at 9:11 am


Unless you do something like badminton, for which there is a short season.

I hope I am wrong, but this is what we have found, hopefully others will chime in and prove me wrong.

Like this comment
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 20, 2012 at 9:13 am

Oh, and things like the open gym on Friday evenings at the Y, don't bother going unless you are on the basketball teams because they look on that as another practice evening and even if a non team member shows up for a pickup game, the team players never pass to the other kids so they eventually give up going and it remains an unofficial practice evening.

Like this comment
Posted by palo alto mom
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jan 20, 2012 at 9:23 am

"Non-competitive" sports disappear around 2nd or 3rd grade, except for AYSO soccer which seems to stay pretty low key.

Like this comment
Posted by community center
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jan 20, 2012 at 10:45 am

Do the community centers like the YMCA or JCC have kids sports teams? When I was in high school (many decades ago), the high schools did not have intramural sports, but the community centers did have less competitive youth leagues.

Like this comment
Posted by Crescent Park Dad
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jan 20, 2012 at 11:03 am

No - at least not at Paly. There's not time for it...lunch is less than an hour, plus a kid has got to eat!

The sports teams use all of the fields/facilities from right after school until 8PM on some nights.

Like this comment
Posted by Me Too
a resident of Midtown
on Jan 20, 2012 at 3:52 pm

There are no cut sports (track, swimming) and JV sports, which are competitive, but not at the same level as varsity sports, and often happy to take beginners (at least on the girls side which I'm familiar with). But I can't think of any "non-competitive" sports.

FWIW, we didn't have that in my high school a generation ago either - it was hard enough to fill out the varsity rosters without worrying about overflow. Intramurals was college phenomenon that was still competitive, but between housing units instead of schools.

Like this comment
Posted by Informaton
a resident of Downtown North
on Jan 21, 2012 at 11:14 am

Last year the rec department and the district opened the Gunn gym on Sundays from 1-3 in the spring for middle and high school kids. Lots of kids showed up and played basketball. The idea was for kids to do other things, but everybody ended up playing basketball.

Max Siegelman from Paly sent out facebook messages on this. Not sure who did it from Gunn. Hopefuly it will happen again this year. It was fun. Dr. Skelly played almost every week.

Max and other kids also play ultimate frisbee in the Paly quad many days.

Like this comment
Posted by Intramural Sports at Paly or Gunn
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Jan 22, 2012 at 6:13 am

Well, darn, thanks for the information, everyone. I was hoping I just didn't know where to look. What a disappointment. I was hoping there was something that was just "an hour after school, hang out and play for fun", more like a fun club, instead of "2-3 hours per day, weekends, and high commitment" type sports.

Too bad.


Like this comment
Posted by Michele Dauber
a resident of Barron Park
on Jan 22, 2012 at 2:51 pm

Yes, we definitely need intramural sports in PAUSD high schools. Part of the "developmental assets" and "connectedness" initiatives were supposed to be the development of intramural sports. We Can Do Better did a big presentation last year at the School Board pointing out that they still had not made good on the promise to start intramural sports. At that time, the district claimed that it was in the works and that the need for intramurals was going to be met.

I should tell you that at the very same meeting at which the need for intramurals was discussed, Paly and Gunn requested an additional FTE guidance counselor who be dedicated to serving the needs of NCAA recruiting for elite athletes. I believe that at that meeting Kevin decided against that proposal.

It is really clear that the district and board make powerpoint presentations which list a bunch of things but often there is little or no follow-through. If citizens want to see follow-through on the high school intramural issue, you should email board members and Kevin Skelly to tell them that you expect them to follow up on developing intramural sports in order to advance connectedness and build developmental assets as promised. Contact them here:,,,,,

Like this comment
Posted by Paly Alum
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Jan 22, 2012 at 5:18 pm

[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

@Intramural Sports: Times have changed. In the 70s, we hardly had any homework and there fewer sports clubs. There is so much homework these days that kids don't have time to just hang out. Plus, the residents of Palo Alto are highly successful to be able to afford the mortgages here, thus they are competitive people so they don't just dabble in sports - they want their children to learn the proper techniques of playing sports so they can accel and be good at the sport and live up to their potential.

As posted above, AYSO soccer is the only club around which is not competitive. But it still requires practice twice per week and Saturday games.

If your student wants to just hang for an hour after school and play a sport, he'll have to find friends for pick-up games.

@Resident: Even badminton is competitive.

Like this comment
Posted by Me Too
a resident of Midtown
on Jan 22, 2012 at 6:42 pm

Since the schools are busy with other things (like all the things they already do), how about We Can Do Better or other interested folks organize the desired intramurals? I'm not sure the demand exists, or the volunteers, but if others think it is worthwhile, let's round up some parent volunteers (or pass the hat for some low-cost paid staff) and have at it. Field space is tight at the high schools, but I'm sure something can be found (middle school fields?).

We can keep asking the schools to solve problems and deliver services, but outside their core and traditional missions, they are stretched. They do over-promise under pressure from the community sometimes; perhaps better to suggest that the community take the lead.

Like this comment
Posted by Paly Parent
a resident of University South
on Jan 24, 2012 at 9:48 am

Paly's noncompetitive sports (besides the no-cut sports mentioned, which a lot of kids do for recreation (and to get out of P.E.) rather than competition), are part of the "club" system. They're mixed in with other types of clubs, but there are a few, not just badminton. Current list here Web Link, but it changes, and any kid can start a club (there was a parkour club for a while, for example). And besides real "sports" (like ultimate frisbee), I see other groups having a lot of fun being physical (the bhangra dance club is pretty awesome).

Like this comment
Posted by sports
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jan 24, 2012 at 10:38 am

There are several local adult sports clubs (like bicycling clubs and hiking clubs) that will welcome high school age members. There are lots of ways to stay active other than competitive sports.

Like this comment
Posted by Moira
a resident of Midtown
on Jan 24, 2012 at 2:31 pm

California public schools traditionally had many school sports teams at the junior and varsity level, which did require practices and games, but had slots for average players too and were run for free (or small fees) This was before club teams became so prevalent.

Now that parents believe playing competitive sports is another way for college applicants to have an edge, the good players are siphoned off as early as elementary school onto private club teams (where parents must pay for coaches, travel expenses, etc). You focus on one sport almost year round, whereas before you could play different sports during the school year for your school team. It's all about chasing the elusive college scholarships for the top athletes, or at least impressing the admissions office of your college choice. There is no longer time in the school day or money for anything beyond the school teams they have now.

Like this comment
Posted by Crescent Park Dad
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jan 25, 2012 at 12:07 pm

BTW - Paly asks each athlete to "donate" a $150 participation fee for each sport, each season. If your kid plays 2 sports each school year, you pay $300/year. Of course, scholarships/waivers are available.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

Coffeebar opens in Menlo Park
By Elena Kadvany | 2 comments | 5,130 views

Couples: So You Married Mom or Dad . . .
By Chandrama Anderson | 0 comments | 781 views

Spring College Fairs
By John Raftrey and Lori McCormick | 0 comments | 759 views

The Cost of Service
By Aldis Petriceks | 0 comments | 221 views