By Jordan Fairchild
Elm Staff Writer
Recently, the Washington College campus community has been transitioning back to a sense of “normalcy” after the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic. With more elements of the Dining Hall being self-service and face masks becoming optional, operations have started moving in a direction that looks more like the pre-COVID-19 world. Another element of the WC experience that will be making a comeback is club sports.
While club sports never went away during the last few “COVID-19 semesters,” not as widely participated in as they were in previous years.
With the College lifting many COVID-19 restrictions and moving toward a new normal, it is important for students to know what benefits club sports bring to campus and how they an get involved to make the most of their college experience.
Students who have an athletic background may find that the lack of sports in their college life leaves them feeling incomplete, but they may not have the time or the interest to commit to a varsity sport. Club sports give students the option to keep athletics in their lives in a way that fits their schedules while maintaining an air of competition.
“Club sports are a great way for students to stay active in sports that they enjoy without the time commitment of playing for varsity. Club sports are a step up from intramurals and usually have a few practices a week and the opportunity to play other club teams from other schools,” Director of Campus Recreation Evan Clayton said
In addition to being compatible with students’ schedules, club sports help bring students of similar interests together. Club sports provide students with a community they can identify with. Within this community, students can find a support system and friends, all while having a fun time.
“Club sports allow for students to create an environment where they can play the sport they love that is not available as a varsity sport. It provides a space where they can make it a hobby to de-stress and have fun with friends,” Student Government Association Vice President junior Jonah Nicholson said. “Club sports [are] our opportunity to be competitive with each other in our own fun way. We laugh, we get some exercise, and we do it by playing the sports we love.”
Clayton sees similar social benefits to club sports as Nicholson.
Clayton highlighted the “competitiveness and camaraderie” that club sports create. These are important [experiences] to bring to the campus community.
Competition drives students to be better and camaraderie encourages team spirit. Together, they will motivate students to push each other to be better in all aspects of their lives.
Having a variety of clubs and activities available as options for students to be involved in is important to a flourishing, passionate campus. Club sports provide a plethora of opportunities for students to get involved on campus and meet peers of similar interests, which will contribute to a better overall college experience.
As a WC varsity athlete myself, athletics contributed to the positive experience I have had at the College so far. Being involved in athletics introduced me to many people with similar values and interests as myself and given me the confidence to put myself out there and explore all that this campus has to offer. If I wasn’t a varsity athlete on campus, I would still try to find a way to play sports to yield those benefits.
According to WC Volleyball Captain sophomore Sylvia Johnson, “playing a varsity sport has offered me so many opportunities and relationships that I never would have had otherwise, so I would absolutely get involved in club sports if I didn’t play volleyball [for the College].”
Overall, athletics in any capacity serve to create a space where students can build connections with like-minded individuals, find a community to identify with, and enhance their college experience as a whole.
For students who want to play a sport that is currently not available as a club sport on campus, there is an option to create a team.
“If a student sees a sport without club representation, their best option is to create a special interest group with the SGA. All new clubs are created this way. As a potential club sport, the students would want to meet with me to discuss their plans for the club and what their goals are. As advisor, I can help with organizing budgets, reserving space, and reaching out to other schools to help set up matches,” Clayton said.
Students can reach out to Clayton (email@example.com) or Nicholson (firstname.lastname@example.org) if they have any questions about getting involved in club sports or starting a new team on campus.