"Club Sports give students an opportunity to play a sport at a high level without the time commitment expected by varsity sports," says Assistant Director of Intramurals & Club Sports Brandon DenHartog. "Club Sports enhance a student's total educational experience, thus creating a more 'complete' person – more capable, skillful, and diverse."
Club Sports at FLC are student-created organizations motivated by a common interest in competitive athletics. Some teams are self-coached, some have paid coaches, and all compete against other colleges and universities.
The emphasis, though, is on player participation -- everyone who wants can join a team, and that participation prioritizes the players' academics and lives off the field.
"No matter what, the emphasis is on getting to play," adds DenHartog. "Everything we do here is about getting people involved and helping people find their niche while in college. It's great for students to be able to say, I can go to Fort Lewis and play baseball and not have the stress of a varsity team."
As well as baseball, Club Sports at Fort Lewis include men's lacrosse, ice hockey, and men's and women's rugby. Three clubs are dedicated to snow sports: the Ski Team, the Ski & Snowboard Freestyle Team, and the Snowboard Team. Recent new clubs include the Triathlon Club, Tennis Club, and Women's Club Soccer. There is also a club version of the national champion Fort Lewis Men's Soccer team -- with the club version qualifying for the 2010 National Campus Championship Series National Soccer Championships.
Fort Lewis Cycling, ranked #1 in the nation for the past two years, is also a club sport. But the program is managed by the Athletic Department, offering the popular and successful program the administrative support of a varsity team but with the open-door policy of a club sport -- meaning anyone with a bike, helmet, and love of cycling can ride with this championship team.
Because the teams are student-led, DenHartog highlights the personal-development values of participating in Club Sports. "Club sport organizers have to do it for themselves," he says. "I'm here to help as an advisor, but they learn the administrative side of making things happen. It prepares them for a lot of real-life experiences they're going to have, whether on a job or on their own."
It all adds up to lots of ways to play. And what you play is up to you: The great thing about Club Sports is that if you don't see the team you want on the Club Sports menu, then you can create your own.
"We're always open to new clubs," says DenHartog. "If you have some people interested, let's give it a try."
Learn more about Club Sports here.