You name it, Gayle Brim signed up for it during her mid-'80s Illini adventure.
“If I wasn’t in the classroom at Altgeld or Loomis Lab or studying at the Union or one of the libraries, you could often find me at one of the campus recreation facilities. I realized very quickly after arriving at U of I, that in addition to my coursework, I wanted to participate in a variety of activities and clubs and I needed to be physically active on a regular basis, as I had been prior to college,” says the 1988 statistics grad, now managing director at Grant Thornton LLP of Chicago.
“I got involved in activities ranging from a political action committee — where we went door to door to campaign for Senator Paul Simon — to a university service that offered rides to women late at night so they didn’t walk home alone, long before Uber existed.
“Most of all, when I think of my time at U of I, I think back to the rec centers and how that was a great outlet for me and lots of fun, too. I was able to take a break from my school work, get some exercise, have fun and make new friends while playing sports.
“Back then, IMPE and other athletic fields/courts were special locations for me on campus. I started by participating in a few intramural sports and working out; I played badminton singles; tennis singles and doubles; and did many team sports, too — like flag football, basketball and volleyball.
“I ran my first 5K while at U of I with one of my roommates and we prepared by running through the South Farms and all across campus. I also used to watch friends of mine play intramural water polo; often groups of us would support our friends in a variety of intramural sports teams throughout the year, all over campus.
“I even remember playing mud volleyball for a fundraiser at Washington ‘Frat’ Park with my D-Phi-E sisters and some of our friends from TEPs.
“Over time, I worked at IMPE, too, managing many of the intramural sports such as flag football, volleyball and basketball. In those days, there weren’t automated programs to create the team brackets, schedules and track results; we had to do it all, manually.
“I also worked at the Armory in the winter, where we had indoor tennis courts that people could rent to play for an hour. I worked there and played there sometimes, too.
“From my work through IMPE, I met some great people from around the country — and Canada, too. We were more than co-workers; we became friends and teammates. While working at IMPE, I learned about a sport that I hadn’t heard of or played before: Broomball; ultimately, we formed a team and joined that intramural league.
“Overall, I learned how important it is to have balance in our lives, to have outlets to take a break, release some energy, have fun and how important it is to have a variety of friends and interests.
“I also learned that we each need to do things for ourselves that we enjoy — to stay happy and healthy.”