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Join in on the fun: FGS announces the Grad Sports League

Join in on the fun: FGS announces the Grad Sports League

On Friday, September 16th more than 40 grad students and faculty members met on the fields near Tait Mackenzie for the inaugural event of the Grad Sports League. Four teams battled for the top spot in a round-robin Ultimate Frisbee tournament. This was the first of many matches to come, all housed at York University.

The Grad Sports League will meet once a month with teams challenging one another in round-robin style tournaments, rotating through different sports. All graduate students, postdoctoral fellows and faculty members are welcome to participate.

The league has been initiated by Professor Heather MacRae, the Graduate Program Director in the department of Politics in response to numerous requests for more events and opportunities to socialize. The inaugural tournament was a huge success and was attended by students from the Faculty of Education, Faculty of Health, LA&PS, Osgoode, Schulich, Lassonde and AMP.

“I remember organizing soccer matches for our program when I was a grad student. It was just an excuse to get together, have some fun and then go out for the evening. It really helped to build a community of students and friends,” MacRae shares her own personal experience.

Online learning was difficult for many member of the York Community. The Grad Sports League provides a chance to meet new people and get back into the routine of doing physical activity. All of this is key to mental and physical health.

photo of two men playing frisbee on an outdoor field

Participants of the Grad Sports League play ultimate frisbee on one of the York sports fields

"I was very excited to hear from Prof. McRae about the Graduate Sports League. With the past two years spent connecting over Zoom, it's refreshing to meet friends, colleagues, and graduate students from other departments in-person,” shares Taha Badoui, a graduate student in Political Science. “I thought this was a great opportunity to get moving and playing in a relaxed atmosphere.”

Grad Sports League participants pose for a group photo on an outdoor playing field

Participants of the Grad Sports League ultimate frisbee challenge assembled for a group photograph

More than 100 students have signed up for at least one of the events so far. Individual programs can organize themselves, or graduate programs can come together to form teams of 8–16 people. If students want to participate but can’t pull a team together, they are encouraged to come out and will be placed with other students from similar disciplines.

"With the start of this new school year and a return to in person learning I was really excited that the Grad Sports League was created,” says Christina Amaral, a grad student in Kinesiology. “It's a great way for us to take a break from being in the lab and to meet new people both within and outside our faculty while engaging in physical activity.”

The tournaments are held on a variety of different days and times to accommodate the busy schedules of grad students and faculty. The league is recreational and open to everyone no matter their skill level. No prior knowledge of the sports is required to participate.

"Having frisbee as our first event with more than majority of our team not knowing how to play ultimate frisbee was a shot that we were willing to take and just run with… we ended up with a huge team building event and just had fun with everyone there showing off our competitive side of Lassonde,” notes Kathursan Loganathan, a grad student in Civil Engineering.

For those students who do not feel up for a game just yet are encouraged to come out, socialize and cheer on their classmates and profs! This is a great way to initiate community-building in cohorts and departments.

“The past two years have really made it difficult to create a sense of community among grad students, and between the students and the faculty. Hopefully the sports league will be a way to rebuild and broaden our communities,” says MacRae.

Students can sign up for one or more of the remaining events: Soccer, Cricket, Seated Volleyball, Wheelchair basketball and Dodgeball. For more info and to RSVP visit:

photo of a group of people playing frisbee on an outdoor field

Participants of the Grad Sports League play ultimate frisbee on one of the York sports fields