By ISABELLA BRIONES
The University of Mary Washington’s men’s club basketball team seeks to promote confidence, inclusion and teamwork. Once on the team, the players know that they have found an “alternative to the rigors and commitment of the varsity level,” according to the team’s description on their UMW club sports page. Members who get the chance to become a part of the men’s club basketball team find a wide range of benefits by participating in this sport.
Club basketball allows students a chance to be active as well as competitive, all while getting the chance to meet other students who are looking for the same opportunities and who have the same desire to play the game. There are scheduled games and regular practices that allow players a chance to have the structure of a varsity level sport without facing the stress of being on a varsity level team. As it states on the club basketball page, the team’s schedule is “rigorous enough to feel rewarding yet flexible enough for the modern student.”
It is junior Will Ritter’s first year as the men’s club basketball president. Not only was a new president in place, but the club’s initial season this fall marked an unusual one apart from the past club basketball teams. Due to staff changes within the school,
“I was unable to successfully apply to make the fall tournament last semester,” Ritter said.
“Usually the team does one fall and one spring semester tournament at other schools to ensure the member of the club team get the exposure and experience that is anticipated by those who participate.”
However, Ritter displaying true commitment to the team and the season as the new president, was able to schedule two tournaments for this upcoming semester, “which will not only be fun, but they will be a great way to see improvement in players and the team itself,” Ritter said.
When asked about the upcoming games in the season ahead Ritter said, “we do not have a rival team per se, but last year we had an extremely close game with the West Virginia University Mountaineers in which Joshua Jones had several “posterizing” dunks and blocks to give us the lead against a very good D1 club team, and it got very heated between their players and ours at certain points in that game.”
Ahead of the team lies the annual game with James Madison University along with a tournament at William and Mary. Ritter discussed UMW’s team’s ability to perform well against the many Division I universities which JMU hosts every year, and he expects this year to be no different.
“Mary Washington is usually one of very few Division III teams, and we compete against almost entirely division one teams and perform very well, especially considering the gap number of players able to try out for our team,” Ritter said.
In order to join the team in the future one must only apply through Mary Washington’s club sport webpage. However, if a member hopes to play in any tournaments, “they must not only prove that they are in the top 10 to 20 best basketball players, but they must also attend the practices as much as possible since it would not be fair for talented people to rarely show up and take the spots of people who are more deserving to go,” Ritter says.