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September 22, 2013

O-Issue 2013: Club Sports

UChicago boasts 39 sports club organizations. Taken together, the list of clubs is an eclectic amalgam of athletic opportunities.

I’m talking Aikido, Aikido Kokikai, Archery. Badminton and Bocce Ball. Climbing, Crew, Cricket, and Disc Golf. Falun Gong, Fencing (men’s and women’s), Figure Skating, and Floor Ball. Genkikai Ki-Aikido. Golf. Gymnastics. Handball, Men’s Ice Hockey, Women’s Ice Hockey. Jeet Kune Do. Judo. Karate, Shotokan. Kendo. Men’s Lacrosse, Women’s Lacrosse. Men’s Rugby, Women’s Rugby. Sailing. The Self-Defense Club. Squash. Table Tennis. Tae Kwon Do. Tang Soo Do. Triathlon. Men’s Ultimate Frisbee. Women’s Ultimate Frisbee. Velo, Volleyball, Water Polo.

If you’re interested in playing a non-varsity sport (if you’re interested in learning a non-varsity sport), there’s probably a group for you.

Here are a few highlights of the many club sports you could join:

Self-Defense Club: The SDC, founded in 2000, trains its members in the Israeli self-defense techniques of Haganah and Krav Maga. The thing about the art is its emphasis on body mechanics, not strength—it’s a good system for both men and women, to defend against both armed and unarmed assaults.

Sailing Club: Not every organization at UChicago has officer positions like Commodore and Captain. A member of the Midwest College Sailing Association, the Sailing Club holds all of its practices at the Jackson Park Yacht Club, located along the southern shores of Lake Michigan. It also competes in regattas against schools like Northwestern, Michigan State, Ohio State, and Miami. And if you’re a beginner? Take the two-Saturday Learn to Sail program—a $50 fee will cover lunch and sailing equipment—and you’ll get to test the waters and learn some basic sailing theory.

Ultimate Frisbee:(two clubs: men’s and women’s). The men’s team is called “Junk”; the women’s, “Supersnatch.” The men’s team is divided into two squads, A and B, the first for experts and the latter for novices. A festive bunch, you’ll often witness members throwing Frisbees on the main quad. The club travels throughout the Midwest to compete against other colleges and, on occasion, competes outside the region in states as far away as Georgia and Nevada.

Archery: University of Chicago Archery is comprised of both a team and a club.

The Archery Club is organized for staff and students who want to practice and to improve their bow-and-arrow skills. The Team is for those who are interested in participating in archery as a competitive team sport. The executive board for UChicago Archery consists of five members: a president, two team captains, and two club officers. The president and two team captains—along with coach Steve Ruis, editor of Archery Focus—lead the Team; the president and two club officers lead the Club.

The Club and Team practice indoors in the Multipurpose Room of Henry Crown Field House or outdoors at the Lincoln Park Outdoor Range. The Team competes in events within several associations: Major tournaments last season were organized by the Illinois Target Archery Association, the Iowa State Archery Association, US Collegiate Archery, and the Illinois Archery Association. They had seven major tournaments last season.

The Club and Team have dozens of members. If you’ve never shot a bow-and-arrow, no problem. Go to a Club practice, learn, play, and meet plenty of new friends. Those friends you make may one day even be able to call themselves your teammates.

The good news is that it’s not too difficult to start your own club. You just have to complete and submit the Sport Club Application (which requires you to include the name and ID number of at least nine other students plus you), secure a faculty adviser, and submit a “constitution and accompanying bylaws” to Brian Bock, the Director of the Office of Intramural, Recreation, and Sport Clubs. That office, along with the Director of Athletics, will review your materials for club approval. Once approved, you’ll have access to the Sport Club Finance Committee’s quarterly and annual allocations, funding that makes it much easier for your club to maintain a presence outside of the campus community. And that’s just one of the perks.

Are you interested in trying out a new sport, one that you’ve never even heard of before? Or, do you already have experience in a sport and want to continue it at the University of Chicago? Do you just love sports?

Well, join the club.

No, even better—join a club.

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