Illustration by Shenuka Corea
Jiu jitsu, cricket, table tennis, personal fitness classes, rock climbing, basketball, football, touch rugby and many more: The sheer variety of physical activities on offer at NYU Abu Dhabi can overwhelm both first-year students and upperclassmen, and as the semester gets underway, you may need to register soon if you wish to play a sport this fall. Whether you plan to join a sports team or simply get moving, our campus can offer high-quality facilities to meet your interests and skill levels. This semester, consider making use of NYUAD’s athletic offerings by joining an intercollegiate sports team, a club sports team or an intramural sports tournament; by taking a physical education course; by attending NYUAD Athletics programming; or by using the on-campus fitness center.
Intercollegiate sports take place between NYUAD and other colleges in the UAE. Most intercollegiate matches take place within the Abu Dhabi Intercollegiate Sports League, which gives intercollegiate athletes a chance to engage with students from other universities in a competitive context on a regular basis. NYUAD currently features in all ADISL leagues, with school teams playing badminton, basketball, men’s only cricket, football, table tennis and volleyball. Though practice times vary, intercollegiate sports teams typically train on multiple days per week. To beat the heat and use the university’s facilities at off-peak hours, the basketball, football and volleyball teams typically train at 7 a.m. on weekdays. Intercollegiate sports teams meet separately during the week but come together on Thursday mornings for a 7 a.m. conditioning session in the performance gym meant to increase the athletes’ fitness levels. If you are interested in joining any of NYUAD’s intercollegiate sports teams, you can reach out to the NYUAD Athletics department at [email protected] or, better still, find the name and email address of each intercollegiate team coach on the student portal. While previous experience in the sport of your choice is not necessary, intercollegiate teams play competitively, with team coaches often having to select a limited match-day squad that may not include all athletes eligible to play that sport. Students hoping to join an intercollegiate sports team should ideally show a combination of consistency, skill, passion and commitment to their sport of choice in order to make a positive impact on their team.
Club sports offer NYUAD students a chance to pursue an athletic interest of their choice without the rigorous training schedule of intercollegiate sports. The sports on offer vary by year, with jiu jitsu, touch rugby and tennis made available to students in the fall 2017 semester. Since limited spots are available for students in each club sport, students must make a 200 AED deposit to secure a spot on these teams. Students who wish to play contact sports must furthermore undergo two brief medical tests to ensure that playing the sport poses no adverse risk to their health. Sign-ups for this semester’s club sports have already opened, and students wishing to secure a spot can contact Jennifer Scully at [email protected] or visit the Athletics office, Campus Center room W204, to start the registration process.
Intramural sports differ from intercollegiate and club sports in the frequency of team meetings and the competitiveness of matches. The word intramural literally means within the walls, and only members of the NYUAD community can partake in the tournaments. The fall 2017 semester will feature intramural tournaments in badminton, volleyball, floor hockey, basketball and futsal. Futsal is indoor football played with five players on each side. Unlike players in intercollegiate sports, intramural athletes may form teams with members of the opposite sex and are encouraged to do so. No deposit is necessary for students to form an intramural sports team. Registration for the fall 2017 semester has already started and ends on Sept. 18. Students should approach intramural sports as a fun, lighthearted form of physical activity, but they should also remember that showing up on time and with sufficient players for their matches is both courteous and necessary. If a team fails to appear for a match, their opponent may win by default, but everyone loses both time and heart.
Physical Education classes give students a chance to pursue a variety of athletic interests as part of their academic degrees. All NYUAD students must complete at least two PE courses during their four years at the university. PE courses are graded on a pass/fail basis but do not appear, yet, on students’ transcripts. PE classes range widely in their focus, with student activities ranging from playing golf to improving long-distance running skills or even pursuing a Scuba diving certification. Registration takes place through NYU Albert and follows the seniority principle. All students have been able to register for fall 2017 PE courses since April. Campus Recreation events take place periodically throughout the semester and aim to bring students together around fun and innovative physical activities. The NYUAD Athletics department will announce upcoming campus recreation activities several weeks in advance on the Student Portal landing page and through posters circulated on campus. Registration procedures vary and will always be indicated on the informational material for each event. Previous campus recreation activities have included rock climbing, dragon boating, stand-up paddle boarding and the hilarious bubble soccer/football.
The NYUAD Fitness Center features comprehensive programming that lets community members train independently, in one-on-one consultation with fitness instructors or as part of drop-in fitness classes held weekly. The Fitness Center offers outstanding facilities and competent instructors to help students and staff alike reach their individual goals and even has a mobile application, featured in last week’s issue of The Gazelle, that lets community members easily book appointments with a fitness instructor of their choice. Since the Fitness Center offers so many separate group fitness classes, students may benefit from viewing the full list of 2017 fitness classes on the Student Portal. Women’s-only facilities and classes are available in the all-female gym adjacent to the indoor running track.
Additional offerings on campus include the underground competition pool in the Campus Center, open daily from 7 a.m. or 8 a.m. on weekends, the Athletics Equipment Room to the Ladies-Only Studio in the Campus Center, from where students can borrow athletics apparel and equipment by presenting their IDs, and the bicycle issue center also on the first floor of Campus Center that lets students loan bicycles for single-day use if booked in advance. Students may also choose to consult a dietician through the Health & Wellness Center, available by appointment within the center’s opening hours.
NYUAD prides itself on the collective merit of its student body, the brilliance of its faculty and its unique position in the world as a U.S.-style college campus outside the traditional sphere of the English-speaking West. Too often, however, we forget to appreciate the outstanding facilities that are available to NYUAD students throughout their four years at the university. Mental and physical well-being form the basis upon which students can build excellence in academics, leadership and other fields, and that well-being starts with taking care of one’s body. NYUAD goes well beyond the expectations we might reasonably have of a university in providing its students with chances for physical activity and social engagement through sports. Because dozens of dedicated staff members work full-time to provide athletic opportunities for NYUAD students, the university can offer an incredible variety and quality of activities. Do yourself a favor and make the most of them.
Nikolaj Nielsen is Sports Editor. Email him at [email protected]