Courtney Weaver sits down with Stephanie Calhoun, Coordinator for Competitive Sports at Campus Recreation, to talk about Club Sports and their role in helping students connect to the university. They cover a wide range of sports, how you can start playing with a team, and how those clubs are operating during the pandemic. For more information on club sports, visit: https://campusrecreation.wvu.edu/club-sports

Transcription: 

Hey, everyone. Welcome to Wellbeing Wednesdays, my name is Courtney Weaver. I'm the director over here at WellWVU at West Virginia University. Today I am joined by Stephanie Calhoun. She is the Coordinator for Competitive Sports at Campus Recreation, which is quite a mouthful to say as a title, but welcome Stephanie, how are you doing today?

I'm doing well. Thanks for having me here. All right. So today we're going to be talking about talking about connecting and engaging through sports. So before we get started, why don't you explain a little bit about your role here at the university? Yeah, absolutely. It's like you mentioned, I work with competitive sports, which, and intimidating title, but it there's a lot that goes into it.

So I work with both the intramural sports program. So that's where students can just come, um, sign up with some of their friends, whether you've played the sport before and not, uh, play either. Weekly in a league. So you're showing up every Wednesday at 6:00 PM and playing softball, or you're just dropping in and playing things like corn hole, spike ball, stuff like that.

So a lot of variety within intramural sports, but I also, um, work with the club sports program. So those are a little more formalized, structured sports. Um, people who are passionate about the sport been playing it for a long time. It's a lot of fun getting to work with both groups. Alright. So wait, what is spike ball?

Spiteful is it's, it's hard to explain, but it's kind of like volleyball, but with the knee on the ground. So you're bouncing the ball off of the net that's uh, on the ground and the other team is having to return it. Like you would involve people, but instead of over a net, it's bouncing it off a net kind of like a trampoline.

Interesting. Okay. I bet that's pretty fun. Alright, so Stephanie, why don't you tell us a little bit about, um, like club sports? What is it exactly? Yeah. So clubs sports is, is like I mentioned a little more formal than intramural sports are. So typically when people are in, interested in playing, they're signing up to play for the entire year, rather than just, um, a league that's playing for a few weeks or just coming to drop in, they have more formal practices, um, in, uh, ideal non-COVID situations, they'd be traveling and potentially competing with other clubs, sport programs at other institutions.

It's kind of a step down from varsity sports. So. It gives people who are passionate about the sport, a chance to continue it with a team here at WVU. Okay. And plus some clubs, sports are like, there aren't varsity sports for that anyway. And so the clubs were really, might be the only option if they wanted to play that particular game.

Correct? Exactly. Yeah. Lacrosse is an example where we have a really big men's lacrosse team here, uh, because there isn't a varsity sport at WVU, so that's the only option here at the school. Ah. Gotcha. Okay. So let's talk a little bit about the variety of clubs. So what sports here are club sports. We already talked about lacrosse, but are there only like standard in quotation marks bars, types of sports available like soccer, football, baseball, or is there more variety?

There definitely is a variety. We currently have 50 clubs sports here. Yeah. WB of so inherently there's, there's gotta be a variety. Some of it is because there are men and women's teams. So we have a men's soccer team and a women's soccer team or a men's lacrosse team and a women's lacrosse team. But we also have some more of those unique sports that you haven't heard of.

Quit it just one that we get a lot of questions. About, um, based on the Harry Potter series, it's, it's a really intense game. Um, we also have things like power lifting or weightlifting, so, uh, definitely recreation in nature, but some people wouldn't consider them a sport, but they do compete cycle, uh, um, different things like that.

Swim is a more traditional one, but, uh, competitive cheer, dance, hip hop, things like that. Oh, wow. So. Confession. I always wanted to be like the advice or to the Quidditch team. Um, cause one of my previous yeah, institution, I know there's one here. I actually saw a student the other day pick up an item at the refresh box and she was like full out Quidditch, like representing WVU team, like on her sweatshirt and her sweatpants.

I was really appreciative of it. And is Quidditch a coed sport? It is. It's actually one of the only coed sports, um, that compete nationally. So a lot of, some of the sports, um, that we have as com sports don't compete as much, but Quidditch does. Okay. So what other sports are coed? Um, yeah, we have a climbing team and they're coed.

You can have, uh, people from both gender or any gender on the climbing team. Um, a question is, is coed. We have both Western and English equestrian, and anyone can be a part of that. Um, swim, like I mentioned earlier is also one of those, um, archery that's, uh, a club that people don't know that we have a lot or paintball.

Both of those are, um, coed. So there's, there's lots of options. Interesting. Every time this reminds me of like watching the Olympics and all the more obscure sports, but every time I watched the Olympics, I think to myself, okay, what sport could I start right now? 36-year-old woman that I could still end up in the Olympics.

And I was like, I couldn't be in a question when in reality, no, you can't. You got to start early with that archery or all those different things. And that's really cool though, because a lot of those are probably things that maybe they don't get to experience when they were in high school. And the fact that it's here now, um, that's really cool.

So do you, you have to be like super competitive to be part of a team. No, not necessarily. We really leave it up to the club to be able to function how they think is best. So some of the clubs do have tryouts things like softball, or we keep mentioning lacrosse. Those that folks have grown up playing.

They do have tryouts. And so you have to really care about the sport to try to make it on that team. But there are definitely ones that people, um, are encouraging folks to play for the first time. A lot of people don't grow up playing rugby. They don't play that in high school or ultimate Frisbee. So those teams I know, are really opened into teaching people the sport, and they just want people who are, who are willing to play and be a part of a team atmosphere.

So some of those clubs are, um, a little more user friendly if you haven't played before. Um, and then some of the clubs don't even compete. Um, they, they just serve generally trying to enjoy the sport together. So it. Depends on the variety, but there's, there's something for everyone I truly believe. Right.

And so maybe if someone tries out for like the club sports, soccer team and doesn't make it, they can always maybe create like an intermural team. Right? Exactly. Yeah. Yeah. So there is that option as well. Um, if, if things don't just work out or, uh, or both, if you were on the soccer team, but you're not starting, not playing a bunch, you can always play intramural soccer as well.

Okay. Cool. That's cool. Um, and then, so we sort of touched on this, but you don't necessarily have to be experienced playing that sport before. I mean, most probably high school it's high schools don't have Quidditch teams is my guess, but, um, but you definitely don't need to be, you know, Super experience in order to try and join a club?

No, not at all. The rowing team is another one that comes to mind that the first few months of their season every year is just truly teaching people. How to be involved in the sport. So there's those sports that are used to being more obscure and saying it in quotes are used to being able back to teaching the people.

Yeah. I mean, there's so much of a variety of sports. I, so I'm going to be honest. I didn't play club sports or numeral sports when I was an undergrad. Like at all, I didn't even know that was an option. I wasn't a very involved student, so it's ironic that I do the work that I do. Um, but like, I remember thinking like who actually plays lacrosse and who actually like plays the sports.

Cause I grew up playing soccer. That was pretty much about it. Um, but the fact that there is, there are so many opportunities, it's just really great and you can bring so many cool, different things.

Go, I'm sorry. I was going to just say that a lot of the clubs are also willing to let people try it out. I know the roller Vixens. So there are roller Derby club for the women who are interested in playing that they have a couple of weeks where they just say, come try it out. There's no commitment, things like that.

So that's good. I played roller Derby in grad school for about three months. Um, and I realized it was more fun. Say that I did it then to add. Um, so. Too involved. I was like, I'm going to pass, but. All over all about it, Gaga over it. So for them, so seven, in your opinion, like what are the benefits to being involved in club sports?

Like, does it go beyond the exercise and activity, which is really great for physical health, but what are some of the other benefits? Yeah, absolutely. Uh, we found that a lot of our students find a community within their clubs sports. So they see the people that they're practicing or competing with every week.

Uh, as more than just. A teammate or somebody that they are just interacting with during those times, whether it's they've ended up becoming roommates or lifelong or things like that, it's it really isn't community, both within the team and within the clubs for organization as well. I'm always surprised when I hear, uh, we have a program assistant that were expressed when she is talking about her friends on the rugby team were talking about her friends in ice hockey, but it's because the clubs sports also support each other and create a community within, um, Within WVU.

So it's, it just makes a big campus feel a little bit smaller, which is really comforting. Yeah. That's very true. So in like, in your undergraduate experience, did you play like clubs, sports and intramurals? I played intermural a lot. I, um, I participated in almost every sport that I could and then officiated a lot.

So I stayed really? Yeah. Yes you did. Um, so if someone wants to get involved in clubs, sports on campus, how do they do that? Yeah. So the quickest way would be to be, to reach out to the individual organization on our campus recreation website, we have a club sports tab, and then we have a list of current clubs and it has every, um, clubs, either their email account for the club or their officer's contact information.

So reaching out to them would be the fastest way to see when do you practice? Are you holding tryouts what's going on this semester, that kind of thing? They also have social media accounts, so it's easy to follow them and kind of get an idea of what things look like before your committing to practicing with the club.

And there view engage page also shows a lot of information, so you can see the current roster to get an idea of how big the club is. You can look at their constitution to see what is important to the organization because they are, um, At the end of the day, they are student organizations as well. So seeing how they function and things like that is a good way to.

To learn by looking at their engaged page. Okay. Yeah. And for those of our listeners who don't know a WVU engages, it's something that's out of the office of student engagement and leadership, and it's basically, um, I would call it more of a database calendar type of web. Program actually, well, WVU, my department has a page as well.

So we, you track a tendency through it, but you can take a look at like Stephanie. I said all the different clubs that are available here on campus, you can see who's in the club, their roster, their leadership, um, their constitution and all that kind of good stuff. And every WVU student has an account already using your mix account.

So you can find more information on student engagement and leadership's website as well. Um, so that was a shameless plug, um, from her SEL I don't work for them. Um, so we always like to end the podcast, uh, talking about like a wellbeing snapshot. So what were the topic that we're talking about in current times?

So get again, we're talking about stuff during a pandemic. So what do clubs sports look like during the pandemic? Yeah. So it's, it's been a roller coaster of a semester. We started the semester being able to, to practice and, um, use for questions of course, but kind of have things as normal as we could. The classes going offline.

Practices and things like that. We're paused for the moment, but we're back to practicing in groups of 10. At this point, I'm wearing masks and socially distancing and things like that. There isn't travel going on this semester, but a lot of clubs are using it as an opportunity to sharpen their skills, get conditioning in, do team, building things, get to know each other.

So things are definitely still going strong. Maybe I'm adapted. Based on how the sport normally looks. Right? So if you're listening to this and you want to get involved in club sports, don't be discouraged. They're still happening, and you can still get, get involved and get active and make new friends and, and sponsor that sense of connection with the university.

It's really important. Alright, well, 70, thank you so much for talking to us today about all, about clubs, sports. We really appreciate it. Um, and to all of our faithful listeners, all, I always say 12, but let's say maybe we'll move it up to 25. I I'm positive that we have 25 listeners. Ah, well thank you for listening and we will catch you next time on Wellbeing Wednesday.