UMW students share their athletic journey from varsity to club
By ARIANA BARRETT
Many people come to UMW to pursue their sports career further, but sometimes the workload of college courses becomes too much to juggle along with a varsity sport. For a variety of reasons, many people end up leaving varsity teams and instead of quitting their sport for good, they decide to join the club version of that team.
One of the main reasons people quit a varsity team is that it’s very time consuming.
“It’s a lot different than high school and I felt like I couldn’t focus everything on academics because it was really time consuming with practice and traveling and missing class,” said Kristen Lundquist, a sophomore softball player.
Lundquist first heard about club softball at club carnival and knew it was the perfect way she didn’t have to give up her sport.
“I still had a passion for it and I knew that it would not take up the full time commitment that a varsity sport would. It’s a lot more relaxed and still gives us the level of competition that I need,” Lundquist said.
Along with not having as much of a time commitment, varsity players make the switch to club because they don’t have to deal with demanding coaches anymore.
“One thing the coach always said was ‘this is a business trip. We’re here to do business’ and one thing I always loved about playing softball was that it was fun,” Lundquist said. “We really felt pressured to win.”
“I got cut during preseason my sophomore year…I was a little behind in skills than other girls on the team,” said Schmidt, senior field hockey player.
Other players felt that their coaches weren’t recognizing their hard work and the club team would.
“I was not very fond of the head coach and his thought process of certain things. I was working hard to earn a starting position and thought I should have a starting position when in reality he already had a set lineup before the season ever started.” Said Justin Pitts, senior baseball player.
There are many athletes that are afraid to join club teams because of the stigma that is associated with them; being on a club team is seen as having no real skills in that sport.
“At first I was weary because I thought I would get judged by the guys I played varsity with,” said Pitts.
“I just wanted to continue playing the sport I love. I was worried [the club team] wouldn’t like me because I came from the varsity team, but they were all so nice and really inclusive,” said Schmidt.
But after being on the team, many people find that they take on a newfound leadership role and feel good about the skills they bring to the team.
“I have been the captain for two years now. Before I was captain, the former captain asked me about how to do certain skills and show the team how to do them as well. I think I bring a more advanced skill set and style of play. I know how to break skills down technically to teach them to others,” said Schmidt.
“I really feel like I can share my experiences with the girls and I have a lot of knowledge about the sport and I know that the team as a whole our goal is to get better and to keep our competitiveness up and I feel like I’ve been able to help some of the girls too,” said Lundquist
Athletes find that they enjoy playing club sports, finding that the light hearted environment is much better to play the game they love in. Some have even shown their peers how much better the experience of the club team is.
“I was one of the first players to make the transition to club baseball from varsity. After I made that transition, there have been five other players that have played club after myself from the varsity team,” said Pitts.
“Being Captain means I get to coach, which is something that I love doing, and that I want to continue to do when I become a teacher. While I did love my time on the varsity team and it was great experience, I love being on the club team and all of the doors it has opened for me,” said Schmidt.