Spring offers fresh start for weekend activities

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Spring offers fresh start for weekend activities

CW/ Joseph Field

CW/ Joseph Field

CW/ Joseph Field

CW/ Joseph Field

Desi Gillespie, Staff Reporter

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Alabama’s football season is officially over. Enough said on that subject. With Saturday nights now being free, there will no longer be a tried-and-true framework for parties, get-togethers and all manner of events.

This may leave some, especially freshmen, at a loss. But students who are seasoned in the loss of football Saturdays can offer some advice for different ways to fill a weekend in the spring semester.

“The intramural softball season starts Monday, Mar. 4, and it’s a great way to come hang out with a group of people,” said Will Harper, a sophomore majoring in mechanical engineering. “I played last year, and it was mostly me and my friends having casual practices, trying to have fun and stay in the season as long as we could.”

Intramural sports have long been a staple of the college experience. University Recreation will be organizing five different sports seasons this spring. Basketball begins the earliest, with registration being Jan. 14-25 and the season starting on Feb. 4. Registration for each sport is entirely online, with costs per team varying from $30 to $60.

“It’s a great way to meet people,” Harper said. “You can either make a team of your own or find a group of people who are interested and sign up with them.”

With so many on-campus programs, clubs and events, it can be easy to forget what central Alabama has to offer. Tuscaloosa has a vibrant arts community. Birmingham is just a short drive up Interstate 59. In both of the cities, there is no shortage of things to do.

“[The Birmingham Museum of Art] is only an hour’s drive away, and it has a bunch of pieces from all around the scope of art history,” said first-year grad student Jamie McKelvy. “They have some classical, sacred and mosaic pieces from the Renaissance, but their collection goes all the way up to contemporary art, up to afrofuturism and folk art. … [The museum] is just a fun place to go and spend a Saturday if you are in Tuscaloosa and want to learn about art history from a not-too-big museum.”

The Birmingham Museum of Art has many free events, series and showings in addition to having free admission. On Saturday, Jan. 19 it will be hosting a Japanese heritage festival from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. This will feature special tours of their Japanese gallery, a tea ceremony and screenings of anime.

In addition to special events, the BMA holds a weekly discussion and gallery experience called “Slow Art Sunday.” The event encourages the relaxed examination of a featured work. Each discussion is hosted by an experienced museum guide and only lasts from 2 to 3 p.m.

This year UA museums are also hosting a wide range of free exhibits to celebrate Alabama’s bicentennial. Most exhibits will be on display at the Mildred Westervelt Warner Transportation Museum, with additional special events being held in a variety of places on campus.

For those who are interested in activities much closer to home, the classic game night is still a viable option. Board games and card games targeted toward older players have been making their way into the mainstream recently.

“Game nights often start with one or two of us being bored and saying, ‘Hey, you should come over and we can play board games,’” Ansley Weaver, a sophomore majoring in communicative disorders said. “We have a few favorites, like Pandemic and Cards Against Humanity and Betrayal at House on the Hill, and it’s kind of our go-to for a Friday or a Saturday night.”

Most of the board games range from about $20 to $30 and are readily available at Target or Walmart. These games also tend to allow for many players at once, making them ideal for casual game nights among friend groups.

“It’s nice because we already own the board games, so you don’t really have to spend much money,” Weaver said. “You can bring snacks, and it’s good quality time while you’re all doing an activity that you like.”

To keep up to date with campus activities, clubs, seminars, workshops and many other offerings, be sure to check the UA Events calendar. There is always something going on, be it supplemental learning experiences or extracurricular activities. Visit ua.edu/events to view the calendar and find more information.

For more information about the Birmingham Museum of Art, see artbma.org.

Visit urec.sa.ua.edu and look under “Competitive Sports” to learn more about intramural details and team registration.