GW offers options for non-varsity atheletes

GW has a decent ice hockey team. But the ice hockey team is not your run-of-the-mill athletic team.

Ice Hockey is known as a club sport, which means it is a non-varsity, student-run organization.

The team holds regular practice, competes with local colleges in the Mason-Dixon Collegiate Hockey Association and even plays a game at the MCI Center.

GW provides an array of club sports, intramural activities and classes for students who refuse to let college end their taste for competition

Students can join club sports ranging from advanced racing to ultimate Frisbee.

RSFS, which oversees all GW club teams, treats club sports like any other University-sponsored student group. All teams must follow guidelines set by RSFS and the Student Activity Center and adhere to the RSFS constitution.

“The level of commitment, competitiveness and skill requirement varies,” said Brian Haunert, GW’s assistant director of intramural and club sports. “Some teams of course are more competitive than others. The ice hockey team is very competitive. Recreational volleyball is not.

“They are an option for people who are still competitive and still want to play,” Haunert said. “Not everyone who played volleyball in high school can play at the Division 1 level. This way, students can still compete against other schools.”

The men’s lacrosse team is another competitive club, which requires prior skill. The team won the national championship two years ago.

Haunert said club sports are popular because of their competitive yet relaxed nature.

“They give students a competitive athletic environment without Division 1 pressures,” Haunert said.

Club sports are intercollegiate, which means students travel for matches and games. But games are usually played and scheduled locally. GW club teams often compete with local schools such as American University and George Mason University.

The process of joining a club team varies. The more competitive clubs hold tryout, but most do not. The men’s soccer club does not hold tryouts because the team needs to field as many players as possible.

Haunert said the women’s soccer club will hold tryouts because many women have expressed an interest in competing.

Haunert said club sports run like any other student organization. Clubs have a president who takes responsibility for the club’s actions. The president usually organizes practices, finds opponents and schedules tournaments.

“Within this structure, the reigns are passed down from year to year so the club remains strong and interest keeps up,” Haunert said.

This structure also provides a social atmosphere in addition to athletic advantages. Haunert said students should not be worried about joining a club team without a flock of friends.

“Many people are in the same boat, but most clubs are tight groups and they have social gatherings as well as competition,” he said. “They provide a great opportunity to meet new people.”

In addition to club sports, RSFS also provides intramural activities. Like club teams, intramural sports provide athletic opportunities for non-varsity athletes, but they are not intercollegiate. There are about 40 different intramural tournaments a year.

Haunert said varsity athletes are prohibited from participating in the intramural equivalent to their own sport.

Haunert said students can either create a team or join an intramural team. Many student organizations already field intramural teams.

Haunert said most fraternities and sororities field teams and student organizations such as the College Democrats and the Organization of African Students, which won the world cup soccer championship last spring.

There is a free agent board for players without teams.

Intramural sports and club sports provide teamwork, sportsmanship, and competition. And most important to some, they are open to everybody.

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