- College sports clubs are a great way to stay active and involved on campus. Campus Recreation at UC Davis offers more than 40 sports clubs.
Varsity sports can be one of the main communities we are a part of in high school, and losing our team when heading to college can be tough. Whether you’ve been a part of a sports team your entire life, are looking to join one for the first time, or are looking to be a part of a sport completely outside of your comfort zone, you might be just in luck. One of the most tight-knit communities at UC Davis is its sports clubs.
With over 2,700 students participating in 41 different sports clubs affiliated with Campus Recreation, there are plenty of opportunities to find a place where you belong. Joining a club team can have many benefits from creating strong friendships to getting physical exercise that supports your body and mental health.
Create Friendships That Last Outside of Practice
With roommates that play card games with their teammates every Friday night at my apartment, I have seen firsthand how strong friendships can be between members of a club sport. Jordan Pickett, current president of club tennis (‘22–’23) reflects, “I joined club tennis as a freshman not really knowing anyone, but I knew I wanted to play tennis. I met some pretty amazing people, three of whom I am still very close friends with and live with to this day.” She continues, “From there it’s kind of just blossomed; I’ve become an officer, and three years in, I’m still an officer, still making friends with everyone, and have this big community.”
On the surface, each team’s main goal is to make it to regionals, nationals or any equivalent for each sport. But underneath, during every practice, social, group or one-on-one hangout, true friendships are being built between you and other people who have at least one common interest. Yuto Shane Murase, a member of men’s club volleyball shares, “The club is very family-oriented; I would say most of my friends in college have been my club teammates. Deciding to play on the club sport has been one of the best choices I’ve made in Davis so far where I have grown very fond of the people, culture and overall experience.”
Gain Valuable Skills in a Healthy Team Environment
Building skills of trust and leadership can benefit your team. A variety of student officers such as the president, social chair and travel coordinator all help keep each club running. Campus Recreation sports club coordinator Baylee Opperman adds, “As a student-run program, sport clubs rely heavily on one another to work towards their set goals at the beginning of each year, whether that be to improve on a certain skill or participating at the National Tournament.” Taking a leadership position is a great way to further develop skills applicable in all aspects of life as well as provide an opportunity to get closer to a like-minded group of people: your fellow officers!
Being in a club sport can also help build interpersonal skills for the workplace. Ian McDonald, recent UC Davis graduate (spring class of 2022) and former president of UC Davis club baseball reflects, “Being on any kind of team can only help you later in life by learning to work together towards a common goal. As far as being president and running the club, my experience taught me a lot: how to delegate tasks, entrust others with responsibilities, and how to lead a team.” The leadership experience gained through club sports is invaluable and can follow you throughout your lifetime.
Support Your Mental and Physical Health
Breathing fresh air and getting your body moving can help relieve stress brought on by school, work or a combination of the two. With school and work being a commitment, it can be difficult to set aside time to exercise unless you deem it as necessary. Joining a club team with one or more practices a week can serve as a new, more engaging commitment. Setting aside a specific amount of time to move your body and have fun is just as beneficial to your mental and physical health as it is your productivity in all of your commitments, whatever they may be.
As a member of club tennis, I can head to “Hit-Arounds” any Wednesday and Friday to play some fun tennis games whenever it best fits my availability and mood. Sometimes, on Friday nights after practice, my friends and I head over to Toomey Field and play spikeball as the sun sets. Playing with friends who also love tennis and spikeball is my favorite way to stay active and de-stress.
There are so many opportunities for you to branch out on campus, and club sports is just one of them! If varsity sports is something you love and miss, Rec Fest during Aggie Orientation is a great way to visit all of the sports clubs in one place and learn more about the ones that interest you! Most club sports recruit members for their traveling teams in the fall, so be sure to get involved right away.