Meanings of Intramural School Competition, Recreation, Recreational Activities and Leisure


Meanings of Intramural School Competition, Recreation, Recreational Activities and Leisure

We discussed the meaning and purposes of outdoor sports. In this article you learn about the meanings of intramural school competition, recreation, recreation activities and leisure.

After studying this article, you should be able to do the following things: Meaning of intramural school competition, Meaning of recreation and recreational activities and Meaning of leisure.


Meaning of Intramural School Activities Intramural Competition in Athletics

This means competition in athletic activities among the pupils of one single school. There are various purposes or values of the intramural programme i.e. (both participation and competition) and this shows that it is a very important aspect of the total education experiences which the school provides for the students.

In some schools, the intramural athletic competition is called annual inter-house competition. Hence some schools organize theirs only once in a year.

As part of education, it should be more than once. Every school should provide for it.


Problem in Organizing Intramural Athletics Competition in Schools

Students in Nigeria have some problems in organizing competitions in physical education for their pupils. These problems cannot be used as ready excuses to deny the students of the rich educational experiences inherent in athletic competitions. Some of the problems are discussed here:-

1. Facilities and equipment: There is no school in Nigeria which has not got a play field of about 80m x 100m, unless schools in urban areas where land space is a problem. A space of this size is enough to train an athlete to compete at any level in sports. Construction of track round such a field or throwing pitches for field events should not present problems to schools.

A good guide is presented on how to construct track and field of play for use in schools. For equipment, like hurdle stands and jumping stands, schools are encouraged to learn how to improvise these items with local materials.

Local carpenters can help schools to solve their problems in this area. Other items of equipment like javelin, shot put and discus require money. School heads and Parents-Teachers Associations should raise money for these items.

2. Time Allotment: The problem of time to organize intramural athletic competitions can easily be tackled with the co-operation of heads. Weekends or school holiday periods can offer the opportunity for this. The end of school terms can be used for organizing intramural competitions in the schools.

3. Awards: Schools may complain of money with which to buy materials for prize awards to winners during competitions. At the school level, schools should not encourage material/cash award in any subject including physical education. Certificates designed by teachers can be presented to the students who perform well on the school intramural sports day.


How to Organize Intramural Athletics Competition

The intramural athletic competition, whether it is called inter-house, inter-class or inter-club competition should be the concern of everybody in the school, teachers and students inclusive.

It should not be a programme for a few students selected on the basis of one good attribute or the other. Arrangement should be made to provide for, almost every student in the school to take part in the competition.

Hence for any one event, provision should be made for the high level performers, the intermediate and the low performers. Each category should compete at its own level.

The organization of intramural athletic competition should be the collective responsibility of the staff in the school and can be handled in the following way:- Organizing Committee, Action on setting up an intramural organizing committee is initiated by the teacher in charge of games, usually known as the games/sports master or mistress.

He/She consults with the Heads of the school for this purpose.

Membership of such a committee which is mainly ad-hoc comprises the following:

The Head or his appointed (Chairman) the Games master/mistress (Secretary) and about 3-5 other teachers depending on the size of the school.

This committee decides on the following:-

The events for the competition:-

· Number of entries per participant

· Officials

· Date for Heats

· Date for the competition

· Guests to be invited

· Work on the competition day.


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Details of Organizing Committee's Decision

Events for the competition

The organizing committee decides on the number of events that will feature in the competition. Also the committee decides on the levels at which students will compete. This may be based on age, ability level or class.

Number of Entries per Competition:

The number of events in which each competitor should take part is decided by the committee. A student may be allowed to take part in not more than two events, as follows, one track and one field event.

The rules guiding the student's performances in each event are based on the official rules of that activity as approved at the national or international level.


The committee decides on the number of officials to be invited for each event. Such event officials should be persons who are knowledgeable in the event for which they are invited. The officials should be persons who are interested in amateur athletics and should understand that the school does not pay allowances for the service rendered in such a competition.

Date for Competition:

The committee will decide on whether there will be heats and the number for such. It will also decide on the number of competitors that will be selected in each event to compete on the competition day. The committee will also decide on the date for the actual competition.


The organizing committee decides whether guest will be invited to watch the school intramural competition.

It is advisable for guest like parents, leaders of the school Parents Teacher Association and community leaders to be invited.

This is one of the ways of establishing a good school-community relationship.

Other Matters:

The committee should also consider whether prizes will be given to students and houses that perform well in the competition and the nature of prizes.

Here it may not be necessary that material prizes in any form be awarded to students for competing in the intramural athletic programme.

Certificates of good performance can be given to them. Competition Day:

 It is important that on the day of the competition, all the members of staff of the school and the pupils should be involved.

Before this day, the games master through the Headmaster should assign functions to all the members of staff.

He must ensure that all the material needed by the officials is provided before their arrival.

The games master should know that it is his responsibility to ensure that the ground for the competition is prepared.

The tracks and pitches for field events must all be marked.

Seats must be provided for the guests and everything needed for the opening ceremony must be provided.

It may be necessary for the school head to prepare a brief speech for the opening and at the close; another speech may be made by one of the guests who must have been informed of this earlier. 

Organization of Intramural Competition:

The organization of intramural athletic competition should not be left to the games master/mistresses of the schools involved.

The Head of the schools should show a great concern in it because such a competition has its own educational values from which the pupils should benefit.

The representatives of the two schools, possibly the Heads and games masters should meet and discuss the whole programme.

Matters on which decision should be taken include the events for the competition; the level at which competition will be held in each event; the number of entries per competitor; the number of officials; equipment, etc.

Each house/class selects its own competitors in each event. In this case each house/class organizes its own heats and submits the names of its competitors.

The students from the school should be properly briefed in advance on how to behave during the competition.

It is essential that they should be made to understand that intramural competition day is an occasion for them to make friends with their counterparts from the other house/class.

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Meanings of Recreation and Recreation Activities

Dictionary Definitions

Refreshment by means of some pastime, agreeable exercise, or the like.

Macquarie Dictionary

Re-create: to renew or enliven through the influence of pleasurable surroundings; to refresh after wearying toil or anxiety, usually by change or diversion; the act of recreating or the state of being recreated: refreshment of the strength and spirits after toil; diversion, play; a means of getting diversion or entertainment.

Webster's Third New International Dictionary Any form of play, amusement, etc. used for refreshment of body or mind.

Collins Australian Pocket English Dictionary


Definitions from the Literature

Simply defined, recreation refers to experiences and activities chosen and pursued by the individual in his/her free time; the basis being that the experience sought and activities pursued, in the real sense of the word, 're-creates' the individual so that he/she may be refreshed to enable him/her to resume daily obligations, whatever those may be. Recreation is any pursuit engaged upon during leisure time, other than pursuits to which people are normally 'highly committed' ([the latter includes] such things as optional shopping, overtime, secondary work, house repairs, car maintenance, further education, homework, child care, religion and politics').

Recreation is considered as activity through which leisure may be experienced and enjoyed but it is also seen as a social institution, socially organized for social purposes.

Any activity pursued during leisure, either individual or collective, that is free and pleasureful, having its own immediate appeal, not impelled by a delayed reward beyond itself, or by any immediate necessity.

It is characterized by feelings of mastery, achievement, exhilaration, acceptance, success, personal worth and pleasure. .. It reinforces a positive self-image.

Recreation is a response to aesthetic experience, achievement of a person's goals, or positive feedback from others. It is independent of activity, leisure or social acceptance.


Classification of Recreational activities

Physical activities

These include games, sports, physical exercises, drill, marching, gymnastics, acrobatics etc.

Mental and intellectual activities

These include discussion groups, study circles, debates, recitation, reading, writing, painting, modeling, chess, cards, etc.

Self-defense and self-discipline activities

These include NCC, NSS, Territorial Army, home guards, sewa smites, Girl Guide and scouting, etc. 

Cultural and social activities

These include drama, music, variety programme, dancing, community service, first aid and celebration of religious, social and national festivals etc. For rural people of Haryana, Saangs (folk plays) Ragnis (folk songs), and rural games like kabaddi, volleyball and wrestling, etc. are best recreational activities, besides the T. V. & Radio programmes.

Art and craft activities

These include drawing, painting, carpentry, modeling, spinning and weaving, gardening tailoring, doll making, needle-work, embroidery, paper machine, leatherwork, etc.

Outdoor activities

These include outing, sight-seeing, visits, excursions, camping, hiking, mountaineering, etc.


These include stamp collecting, newspaper cutting, photography, picture collecting, album making, picnics, specimen collecting, etc.

Essential characteristics of recreation

Education is advocating that the recreation must have the following characteristics to benefit the participant to his fullest.

Leisure Time

To have recreation the activity must be engaged during one’s free time. From this point of view, one cannot leave during the working hours and engages in recreational activity.


The activity engaged in, must be enjoyable not boring one.


The activity engaged in must bring immediate and direct satisfaction to the individual.


The individual must have chosen recreation activity of his/her own choice. There must be no compulsion.


The recreational activity is constructive. It is not harmful to the participant physically, mentally, emotionally, socially or in any other way. It helps one to become a better integrated individual.

Socially acceptable

The recreational activity is socially acceptable and individually beneficial to the participants.

Need and Importance of Recreation

There are certain fundamental human needs which are required to be satisfied; there are objectives of education that need to be achieved; there are obligations of democratic society that need to be fulfilled; there is price of the technological advancement relished by the modern society that has to be paid; and there are factors/changes which have given rise to the wide spread recognition of the need and importance of recreation in the modern life.

In the explanation given below an attempt is made to point out why and how recreation is serving increasingly important functions in the life of the individuals, the community and the nation:

Recreation- A fundamental human need

Among all the peoples and in all stages of history, man has found outlets for self-expression and personal development in forms of recreation which have a striking similarity.

Recreation is a common heritage of all people, although its expression takes varied forms.

In all lands, play is the chief occupation of young child during his active hours. Through play the child attains growth and experience. It is nature’s way of affording outlets to the great biological urge for activity and the means of acquiring skills needed in later life.

Recreation contributes to human happiness

Happiness was recognized by our forefathers as a fundamental and worthy objective for every individual. In fact life would be incomplete and drab without recreation, the great leader of recreation Dr. Austin Fox Riggs has rightly expressed that “The function of play is to balance life in relation to work, to afford a refreshing contrast to responsibility and routine, to keep alive the spirit of adventure and that sense of proportion which prevents taking oneself and one’s job too seriously and thus to prevent the death of youth, and not infrequently the premature death of the man himself.”

Recreation and Health

Recreation is vigours, and is carried in the open air, which makes use of the fundamental muscles and is the best known means of developing and maintaining healthy organs. Certain forms of recreation cause increased circulation, greater respiratory activity, better elimination of wastes and improved digestion. It contributes to emotional stability by affording rest, relaxation and creative activity.

Recreation and character development

Recreation has been characterized as a force of tremendous consequence for the personal character and the national culture. Yet character development is not an objective specifically sought by persons engaging in recreation activities, it can be a natural by-product of participation in team games, drama, and music which require cooperation, loyalty and team play.

Recreation and Crime Prevention

Participation in wholesome recreation helps to build character. It acts as a safety valve for the prevention of crime and delinquency. Because recreation activities have a strong appeal for children and youth, delinquency is less likely to flourish in communities where opportunities for whole some recreation are abundant and attractive.

Children or young people engaged in recreational activities on the playground cannot at the same time robbing a bank, breaking into a home, involving in a gang raping or some other crime.

The boy who goes to the playground daily or who excels in some other curricular/social activity, and the girl who takes part in the composition for the drama play or who is a leader in the nature group are finding outlets for the normal desire for recognition, success, and achievement. They have little need to seek such satisfactions in unsocial ways.

Most delinquent and criminal acts are committed during leisure hours and larger parts of these acts are performed in order to get the means for the enjoyment of leisure.

The police official’s and prison authorities have testified from their experiences that much delinquency and crime result from in adequate recreation opportunities.

As a result to avoid such things recreation plays an important role in the life of children, youngster, youth and adult.

Recreation and community solidarity

Many forces in modern society tend to separate people into distinct and often hostile groups, based on differences in their economic status, social position, race, creed, nationality, education or cultural background. Consequently, it grows suspicion, distrust, and dislike of our fellowmen and a lack of neighborliness and unity of interest.

Recreation affords a common ground/common platform where differences may be forgotten in the joy of participation or achievement.

Recreation is essentially democratic; interest and skill in sports, drama, or art are shared by all groups and classes. The young boy/girl/man/woman that excels in sports or any other activity is recognized regardless of his cast, colour, and creed by followers of these activities/ group people.

Recreation and Morale

In periods of insecurity, depression and unusual strain man is more than ever in need of activity which brings satisfaction and sense of accomplishment. In different parts of the world people are facing earthquakes, floods, military invasions etc.

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Meaning of Leisure

The concept of leisure has been interpreted and defined in many ways. Our word leisure comes from the Latin word licere meaning “to be free” and the ancient Greek word schole meaning “serious activity without the pressure of necessity”.

From these roots, however, our current notions of leisure have grown in many directions through the work of psychologists, sociologists, social psychologists, historians, philosophers, economists, anthropologists, and others.

Godbey classifies the many existing definitions of leisure into four basic types: time, activities, state of mind, and state of existence.

Similarly, Kelly considers three approaches to viewing leisure: time, activity, or condition. They and other experts offer the following observations about these different ways of viewing leisure.


Leisure as Free Time

When most people think of leisure, their ideas relate in one way or another to free time.

Many people use the terms leisure and free time synonymously and imply as much by commonly referring to “leisure time.” Formal definitions of leisure as free time typically describe it as time unobligated and opposed to work.

These definitions present leisure as that time remaining after subsistence (work) and existence (e.g., sleeping, eating, bathing) needs are met.

MacLean, Peterson, and Martin (1985) defined leisure as “that portion of time not obligated by subsistence or existence demands. It represents discretionary or free time, time in which one may make voluntary choices of experience.”

The obvious advantages to thinking about leisure as free or discretionary time is that it seems clear-cut and practical. Leisure viewed this way can be easily quantified, making it possible to identify trends and to compare amounts of leisure among different groups. The emphasis on freedom of choice is also appealing.

At first glance, equating leisure with free time seems to make it a concept that nearly everyone can relate to and support.

However, freedom is a relative term, and the degree of freedom a person experiences varies for different aspects of life and for different situations.

Is anyone ever completely free politically, economically, physically, or socially?

Is a person’s free time actually the goal or simply a necessary precondition that makes something else possible?

Does not leisure have something to do with a certain quality rather than just a quantity?

The ancient Greeks certainly believed it did and most scholars and practitioners today do as well.

Leisure as Particular Activities

Many people think about leisure as engaging in certain activities. This is consistent with the ancient notion of schole. When people refer to leisure activities they typically mean pursuits freely chosen, pleasurable, and not participated in for pay.

Outdoor recreation planners today routinely estimate participation in activities such as downhill skiing, hiking, bird watching, and mountain biking, but not pursuits such as studying, working, or singing, even though these and many other activities can occur in outdoor recreation areas.

Once again, viewing leisure in terms of certain activities has the advantages of being simple and emphasizing freedom of choice.

But again, many feel leisure is more. No activity is leisure to all people in all situations.

A ski instructor, for example, may hit the slopes out of financial need and loath every minute spent with students. Likewise, few (if any) activities cannot be leisure to certain people under certain circumstances.

While splitting firewood may be an unwanted drudgery to most, it may be a pleasurable, freely chosen challenge to a harried urbanite on vacation in the country. Limiting our idea of leisure to lists of activities is simple, but it ignores peoples’ motives and experiences.


Leisure as a State of Mind

Definitions of leisure from psychologists and social psychologists tend to present leisure as a state of mind involving perceived freedom and intrinsic motivation.

In other words, leisure is something that must be freely chosen and engaged in for reasons intrinsically satisfying rather than for extrinsic reasons, such as money or increased status.

Seeing leisure in this way explains why it often seems so situational.

Defining leisure as a state of mind reminds us that it is just as much or more about what something means to a person than when it occurs or what the particular activity might be.

A shortcoming of leisure defined solely as a state of mind, however, is that it seems to ignore the external world.

Should a daydream, hallucination, or drug-induced state of mind be considered leisure? Can having the willpower to think positively about a truly bad situation make it leisure?

In conclusion, Intramural school competition is the phase of physical education programme in which the students within one school are free to take part in any athletic competition organized in that school while recreation any activity pursued during leisure, either individual or collective, that is free and pleasureful, having its own immediate appeal, not impelled by a delayed reward beyond itself, or by any immediate necessity.

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