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Change up your boring lunchtime routine with Recreation and Wellness

May 21, 2018

Recreation and Wellness invites you to join in two long-standing lunchtime activities. Move your lunch to the Student Recreation Center to get active and meet new people! But don’t take Recreation and Wellness’ word for it; recently, the RecWell interviewed Cooky Ikeler and Mariano Spizzirri, two long-time members of NIU Recreation and Wellness. Both members regularly use the Student Rec Center during the lunch hour, with Cooky primarily playing volleyball and Mariano playing basketball.

Cooky grew up DeKalb and retired from NIU in 2011 after 33 years of service. Cooky began playing volleyball at the Student Rec Center in the early 2000’s and has been playing ever since. “I play at noon on Mondays and Thursdays because that is when the group originally began playing. Those days were chosen to give more people a chance to play since some faculty who taught on Monday, Wednesday and Friday could play Thursday, or vice versa. The same with students who have classes mostly on Tuesdays and Thursdays, they can play on Mondays.”

Feel like you don’t have the ability to play volleyball? That’s not a problem. “Our group consists of staff, retirees, faculty, students and community members,” says Cooky. The group is composed of members of all abilities, ages and competitiveness. Over the years, the group has created a distribution list that participants can reply if they will be playing that day; this helps to prevent members from showing up when there aren’t enough players for a game.

Mariano has worked at NIU for just over 21 years and has been a member of Recreation and Wellness for almost 20 years. Besides the obvious health benefits that playing basketball provides, Mariano likes to play basketball in the middle of the day to help break up his workday, help him use his time more efficiently, and foster relationships he’s made along the years. “I get to interact with faculty, staff and students that I typically would never meet. Also, I’ve made dozens of friends over the years,” says Mariano. As with volleyball, members of all ages and skill sets come out and play during the lunch hour. According to Mariano, “the finest group of people come out and play each day – all ages (freshman to retirees) and skill sets; we always make it work and have an enjoyable time.” The group typically plays three games, usually taking about 40 minutes. The group tries to get out every weekday over the lunch hour, so come out and play.

If you are interested in learning more about membership opportunities, please visit the following link: If you would like a free trial pass or have questions about the FitWell program offered through Recreation and Wellness, email Chrissy Tluczek at [email protected].