Athletes in club sports compete and find community

Pepperdine’s women’s lacrosse team poses for a team photo March 13, 2022 at Cal State Fullerton Football Field. Senior Peyton Lee said at the 2018 fall semester club fair, the lacrosse team head coach asked her if she was interested in joining the team, and she decided to give it a shot. the shot. Photo courtesy of Peyton Lee

As Pepperdine students adjust to the various stresses of college life, students find community through the club’s sports program.

Club sports differ from intramural sports since club sports teams travel and compete against other universities. Students can find Club Sports flyers throughout campus and contact Recreational Sports Coordinator Julian Baker, Head Coaches, or Team Captains if interested.

“We like to say to our athletes, ‘We understand that you’re probably not going to try to become a pro in your sport,'” Baker said. “But at the same time, it’s not just a random pastime. You have a passion or love for any sport [you’re] are involved with.

In the spring semester, in-season club sports include team surfing, club tennis, women’s lacrosse, rugby and esports, Baker said.

Senior Women’s Lacrosse Captain Peyton Lee and Senior Men’s Rugby Captain Aaron Barnhouse said they chose their respective sports when they came to Pepperdine and found club sports offered a good competitive balance.

Compare intramural sports and club sports

Although students can bond around club sports, intramural sports are also offered throughout the year and the two are sometimes confused.

“In club and intramural sports, students create the team and lead the leagues, which run throughout the semester,” Baker said. “Intramural sports are open to staff and faculty, while club sports are restricted to student participation.”

Baker said one of the biggest differences between club sports and intramural sports is the level of competition.

“If someone was an athlete in high school and wants to get back there, that’s a great level of commitment,” Lee said. “It’s a great way to meet people and stay active. This is a level of competitiveness that I would have liked to play in college.

For intramural sports, Pepperdine offers flag football and volleyball in the fall semester. Basketball and soccer league runs throughout the spring.

How to start

Baker said Campus Rec staff spread the word early in the fall and spring semesters to encourage students to give it a try. Places are still open to athletes as some students will graduate and go overseas, Baker said.

Baker said students can find more information and contact information on the website.

In terms of funding, Baker said players pay a certain amount at the start of the season — which will continue to be separate from the welfare fee. For example, those wishing to play rugby must pay $250 before the start of the season. Baker said the fee covers various costs such as framing and registration fees.

“If the teams are ready to travel, [the fees] covers uniforms, equipment — kind of basic,” Baker said.

Although Pepperdine offers these activities, Barnhouse said the school does not allocate a lot of money to club sports.

“[Pepperdine] kind of leaves it to the students to deal with,” Barnhouse said. “There are people responsible for helping and [Campus Rec] does a great job. They made the effort and they tried to help where they could. It’s just that it’s hard when [Pepperdine is] not support them.

In terms of resources, Barnhouse said a big problem with club sports is the state of the grounds on which they compete.

“It’s difficult when we look around us [and] there is a football pitch that we asked to play on and we are not allowed to because only football can do that,” Barnhouse said. “And there are always like other areas that just aren’t kept in shape.”

Lee said one area where Pepperdine can improve its support is being willing to listen to their concerns.

“We were told that [Pepperdine] would try to fix the old ones [Park] in time for our season and [Pepperdine] didn’t – and so that was kind of a challenge too,” Lee said. “We’re really at the back of their minds.”

Interactive by Jerry Jiang

Find a community

Despite the challenges, Barnhouse said club sports are a good way to relieve stress and improve mental health.

“It’s a way to bond and make new friends,” Barnhouse said. “With rugby, there are 15 people on the pitch at a time, so you instantly have like 20 other friends that you have a connection with. There are instantly 20 guys that you’re like, ‘OK, he there is someone there.’ They are people I can turn to.

Lee said it’s sometimes difficult to balance the role of friend and teammate.

“If you hear members of the squad say they don’t like going to training and stuff like that, it’s hard to strike a balance because I have to encourage people to go to training. “, said Lee. “So I have to find the balance between friend and captain.”

Barnhouse said that with rugby, playing time is determined by effort and easily distributed to those who show effort and passion.

“The chemistry is much easier to train because you’re putting your body on the line,” Barnhouse said. “You literally throw yourself at someone to help the rest of the team and you get hit by other guys, hoping the rest of the team tries to stop them.”

Barnhouse said there’s a benefit to trying to find something you like at Pepperdine.

“There’s no full commitment,” Barnhouse said. “There is everything to gain but nothing to lose. You can make a good group of friends, find a new sport that you might like. And even if you feel like you’re not athletic, if you’re 100% interested in it, give it a try because you might find a really good fit for you.


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Contact Jerry Jiang via Twitter ( @j_jiang30 ) or by email: [email protected]

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