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Club sports are an important part of university or college life and they provide students with an outlet not just for tournaments but also for different areas of learning. Participation in the same promotes student development capabilities and strengthens scholar interrelationships. Those that develop a curiosity are more likely to achieve an edge over the others. Sports clubs are student-led organizations that have mentors in order to take charge of the entire athletic event, allowing students to gain a variety of leadership skills. It raises the political literacy concern as the students are equipped with knowledge and skills needed to participate in political matters actively. Moreover, the skills acquired are passed down to their families through the need to lead just the way of leadership in their clubs. Further, through the community development programmes, those who mainly participate in sports are in a position to be leaders. Therefore, it is outright clear that sport clubs are a crucial part of those who gain interest and join such organizations.
Before going to school at Loyola, I lived in Flushing, New York. One of the main reasons I chose to go to Loyola, other than entering a high school, was its location. One aspect that both places share is living near the city. I am used to the way public transportation works and how everything is fast paced, which makes me feel more at home. I always liked how the city was still alive no matter the time or day. Even though I knew some places in Baltimore were dangerous, it was the same to be said for New York City, which was a thirty-minute drive from my house. However, my real sense of community is based on my friends and the environment around. According to Susan L. Lytle, adults experience changes in their lifetime, which they should be able to cope with to accomplish their goals (395). The article further goes on to give the spotlight on the observable changes in an adult. My choice of going to Loyola was one of the changes that I had to go through in my life, and coping with it was no such easy. I had to look for ways of inter-relating to ensure the closeness of the new friends I was going to meet.
Before the start of studying in Loyola, one of my biggest concerns was how I was going to start living on my own. Now I have complete control of the actions and decisions I make. The thought of this was scary enough, not to mention I was worried about trying to fit in at Loyola even before I arrived on campus for move-in day. When I first came on campus, and my parents left, I became nervous. The only kids I knew were my roommates. I thought to myself, how am I going to survive here? At first, I was not sure what to expect. I did not think it would be that hard to make friends. However, I realized that to make friends, I would have to step outside my comfort zone. In his letter from the Birmingham Jail, Martin Luther puts forward that oppressed people cannot remain oppressed forever (Luther 199). He yearned for freedom, and it ultimately manifested itself nonetheless. My stress relates to what Martin went through, but later got a solution. I had a firm belief in making new friends and meeting new people. I knew that I was going to get through all the challenges that I was encountering then. A solution comes when one has the qualities of perseverance, patience, and the need to accomplish goals. I trusted myself on these traits and I knew I was going to overcome the hardships.
It was not impossible to meet new people, but I just expected it to be much easier. I felt like I needed a platform to fit into Loyola and the community. However, in thanks to my Evergreen, Peyton, I have soon realized I could participate in club sports. Explaining who an Evergreen is, it is a position held by an upper-classman who helps guide first years with their transition to college, acting as a guidance counsellor. She texted in a group message that the school was having club sports signups for most of the day on the quad. I knew this was a great platform to grow closer to the community and meet some potential friends. However, Peterson in his book puts forward that it is good for one to engage in action, but the exact deed should be known before getting involved in such an act. The author further explores the horror stories of people who worsened things by trying to do what was right. In my opinion, though, it does not sound right for what I was getting involved in it. I should instead act for I needed people who could be close to me and become good friends. One of the few possible options was joining club sports, and I had to do anything possible.
Joining a club was a perfect opportunity to meet new people. Once I decided to walk over to the quad, my mind was pretty much set on playing club lacrosse, the sport I loved most in high school. On my way to go sign up for lacrosse, I noticed that we had a men's club volleyball team. I found this interesting because my high school only had a girl's volleyball team. I always loved playing volleyball in the gym, and after thinking about it for a little, I decided to drop lacrosse and try out for volleyball. Volleyball suddenly became something of interest to me, and now, it is one of the main reasons I love Loyola, which has nurtured in me with the sense of community. I have only been on the team for about two months, but I already feel like I belong. The whole team acts as a support system and a family, which is much more than just playing the sport and participating in it. I have always known that when I am at volleyball, I am growing closer and closer to all my teammates and the environment around me. Whether it is bonding during road trips or cracking jokes during practice, it is always a great feeling to be somewhere you can call home.
If you are wondering how to join a club sport, it is straightforward. There is a designated day for signups that your Evergreen will inform you. Upon signing up and getting a follow-up email, one must sign a few forms online so as to become eligible to play and try out. It is also possible to create a club sport if there is a widespread demand, thus widening the horizon of options for people. The procedures on how to make a new club team are provided on Loyola's website. Club sports have a mission, which is to try and get first years engaged the moment the first semester starts. Even assistant director Taylor Tully believes that "it is crucial for new students, particularly first-years, to get involved immediately." Club sports start up fast, and it is important not to hesitate when it comes to trying to become a part of a team. The primary goal of having club sports here at Loyola is to help build the community among all students who share the common interest in athletics.
There is a wide range of other club sports that can be chosen. Club sports encourage a community of friendship and support, while still allowing a sense of competition., thus differing from divisional athletics. Taylor Tully, one of the directors of rec sports, argued that club sports "offer a diverse range of activities to enhance every student's experience here at Loyola University, Maryland." Club sports are great because they allow first-year students to stay in shape, make new friends, and travel to all different Universities to play. Most club teams compete in leagues against other local and regional groups, while some teams even compete in national competitions. Benefits of the club sports range from physical fitness to acquiring teamwork and leadership skills, as well as learning and development for the participants. The college gets an opportunity to get into competition with various universities, which leads to student integration. Thus, educational institutions have realized the importance of having such sports and in turn, wholly supported because the outcome is always substantial. Numerous recreational facilities have been put in place to diversify the programs. For instance, Loyola has been on the forefront in ensuring that sports clubs are taken into consideration seriously. The whole community also benefits from the same.
Peterson continues to provide an insight into fear, and he found that, "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself." (37). He goes on to explore on the fact that a good starting point has a little courage to overcome fear. For me, joining the club was out of courage due to the need to meet new friends and my love for sports. I was sure that I was going to be connected with friends within no specific time and get a chance to participate in various competitions. I asked the captain of the volleyball team, Jacob Rombach, why he liked club sports, and what his opinion was on the whole program. He stated, "personally, I like club sports because it gives me an opportunity to play volleyball while still managing my other activities. While I was being recruited by some NCAA teams, I knew that I wouldn't be able to pursue my engineering majors with playing division 1 athletics. However, with club sports, I can double major in engineering, be in the honors program, be an RA, and be so much more, on top of captaining a club team." Not only do club sports bring people closer to the community at Loyola, but as Jacob described, participation allows him and many others to play the game they love and focus on other academic commitments.
Being on a club team helps the first-year students ease the adaptation to studying in Loyola, while growing closer to the community. These are just a few examples of reasons why I strongly recommend trying out for a club team. I encourage all those who have not yet enrolled in the program to do so to get a chance to be part of the team. It is just a matter of balancing your studies with the time for sports. It is no waste of time. There are many things to benefit from while in the club. It inclines more to be a financial literate. Those who participate get a chance to acquire knowledge and skills, which they can use in the management of their financial resources. Only through participation in such clubs, the Loyola community will experience fruitful changes as a whole.
In conclusion, club sports bring the community of Loyola closer in multiple ways. What brings each other together is that we all have the chance to get involved in sports and be connected. Let us help build Loyola community at large and bear fruits out of being in the club and participating in sports. Nothing is impossible; it is what you are made of is the only determinant factor, and therefore, those who have joined the club do not regret being part of it. For the upcoming class of 2022, keep in mind that club sports bring more to the table than just sports. You must take risks or rather be courageous enough to join the club. It can be your sense of community.
Martin, Luther. Letter from Birmingham Jail. The Autobiography, 1963. p. 186-204
Susan L. Lytle. Living literacy: rethinking development in adulthood. Linguistics and Education 3 (2) 1991, p. 109-138.
Tom, Peterson. Facing the orgers of progress. Cynicism apathy, Heifer International, 2008. p. 33-37
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