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Club Sports Members Talk About Engagement

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Don Lierman

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Tired of sitting on your backside watching others play your favorite sports?  You do not have to participate vicariously at UM-Flint.  Club sports offer students the opportunity to suit up and compete in their own particular field of dreams.

UM-Flint offers eleven clubs that let students shake out their sports mojo:  cheerleading, football, golf, judo, men’s ice hockey, men’s lacrosse, floor hockey, men’s soccer, women’s ice hockey, women’s soccer and ultimate frisbee.

“Club sports enhance the opportunity for leadership experiences and personal growth outside the classroom. They keep students engaged and active in sports they loved in high school while offering a supportive social community on campus,” said Stacey Urbani, Coordinator of Student Activities and Leadership.

Each club team manages its own schedules.  All clubs have dues that are charged to its members.  Some clubs have tryouts while all have roster restrictions due to league rules.

Some of the leagues in which the clubs participate are the Central Collegiate Women’s Hockey Association , the American Collegiate Hockey Association, Women’s Midwest College Club Soccer League, College Club League, the National College Lacrosse League and the National Club Football Association.

According to the university web page, “Club sports are classified as either competitive or non-competitive based upon the varying skill levels and interests of students at the University of Michigan-Flint.  Non-competitive clubs are instructional and recreational.  These clubs enhance or teach a particular sport or activity, and provide its members with a chance for socialization and practicing of their skills.

“Competitive clubs regularly compete in various state, regional and national contests and tournaments against clubs from other colleges and universities.  These clubs are usually members of a nationally recognized league or association for their respective sport or activity.”

The clubs are divided into two categories:  Sponsored Student Organization teams and Voluntary Student Organization teams.  Sponsored Student Organization teams include cheerleading, men’s football, men’s hockey, women’s hockey, men’s soccer, women’s soccer and men’s lacrosse, which means that these clubs receive some funding from the university.

“My involvement in club football has given me the opportunity to engage with levels of administration and individuals at the University that I would never have met in the context of my classroom education,” said Evan Philburn, junior health care administration major and football club team president.

“Being able to interact with people in these roles has helped improve my own leadership skills, which I can also carry on to the football field, and which will be invaluable as I continue my education and eventual career.”

Most of the teams have finished their schedules for this year.  Lacrosse, however, begins its schedule in March.  Membership is not based on experience level. The team has been operation for five years and has finished third in its conference for the past two years.

The first practice will be on Feb. 9 from 9 to 10:30 p.m. at the Flint Iceland Arena.  If interested please contact Steven Learst, sophomore computer science major ([email protected], 313-909-0724) or Jake Brownfield, junior business administration major ([email protected],  810-931-8305).

“Club sports has been huge for me,” said Learst.  “I was always worried that my athletic career wasn’t going to continue after high school because I didn’t expect there to be any sports on this campus. The fact that I am still able to play the sport I love at a collegiate level is a great feeling and has really made my time at UM-Flint much more enjoyable.”

Also, men’s and women’s hockey have nearly completed their seasons.  You may check out the action at the end of February at the Crystal Fieldhouse in Burton.

“Being involved in club sports at the university is great,” said Courtney Rushlow, junior visual communication major and member of the women’s ice hockey team, “It lets me be a part of something that I can look forward to after all the books and papers and studying. It’s a great release form for me and a great way for me to meet new people and make more friends. As a team we get to grow the club ourselves, and overcome challenges together that not only made us into a successful club sport, but also a family.”

Further information regarding the various sports clubs can be found on the www.mgagement.umflint.edu or Facebook.

“Club sports are a great way to play the sport you love in a college league,” said Urbani. “Although the intricacy of each sports differs, they have these common elements: pay to play, open to all students and abilities, two to three practices a week, and weekend game schedules.”

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Club Sports Members Talk About Engagement