Intramural Guru: Hannah Balmaseda balances sports and life

By: Veronika Quispe/Staff Writer

Junior Hannah Balmaseda explored challenging events that, eventually, ended up being part of her everyday life.  Balmaseda ook on the challenge of playing sports when she was in her junior year of high school and its followed her ever since.

Balmaseda started with soccer and track in Felix Varela High School (Miami, Fla.). Now at FIU, she has moved on and has enrolled in five different intramural teams in just one season.

She now plays in every season including summer, has been a part of 15 teams, played 55 games, and has won 31 of them. She has also won four silver trophies, two bronze trophies and a women’s soccer Championship. This spring season, Balmaseda will be playing three different sports; flag football, women’s and coed soccer.

“All my friends were in a flag football team called the Mad Gatos, so I started playing with them the second I came here. I was really bad at first because I didn’t know how to play but they taught me,” Balmaseda said. “I liked the competition in intramurals, it reminded me a lot about high school and the intensity of it.”

Balmaseda’s schedule is constantly busy, as she juggles working at Red Lobster, playing intramurals, and majoring in sports and fitness studies.

“I try to manage my schedule. I do sports before or after work and classes. Sometimes I have to run from a sweaty game and put on my apron and start working. But I like doing it, it’s fun to be an athlete,” Balmaseda said.

When asked the reason behind her dedication and involvement, the answer was fairly simple.

“I really like sports, it’s a good exercise and its fun. I can skip the gym that day because it’s either run on a treadmill for two hours or play a sport I enjoy which I could do it for longer,” Balmaseda said.

Intramurals have helped the aspiring athletic trainer achieve personal growth in many ways.

“I’ve gotten better at sports, I’ve become more athletic and outgoing and definitely more confident,” Balmaseda said.

Balmaseda has also taken a leadership role by being captain of most of the women’s teams. She finds this task a bit more challenging yet rewarding.

“I’m in charge of setting schedules and games, when I feel like I’m annoying my teammates they still end up showing up so I’m sure they like playing just like I do,” Balmaseda said.

After being involved for so long, playing different sports has become a tradition.

“I like flag football the most. Since my flag football team has been playing for years, we always practice once a week during seasons. We’ve developed plays and we’re very organized which helps us a lot during games because other teams don’t have that.  Were like machines,” Balmaseda said. “However, we haven’t won a championship yet we always lose by an inch.”

FIU intramurals offer a variety of different sports that fits into every personality and it is constantly expanding as more and more people become involved. Coordinators are helpful to those willing to play; they work around everyone’s schedule by offering different time slots for games and practices as well as providing equipment for each sport.

“They are really helpful. They cancelled kickball because only two teams signed up.  Yet we talked to the coordinator and asked him if we could have a championship game for just the two teams and he set it up. They’re really good about all those things,” Balmaseda said.

Balmaseda plans on continuing her involvement even as an alumnus.

“That’s the great thing about intramurals, its not just four years it doesn’t have to stop at graduation,” Balmaseda said.

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