One of the ways many students learn about life, social interactions, work ethic and even themselves is through sports. Once high school or junior college is over, many athletes are left yearning for the comradery and competitiveness they once enjoyed because school is a bigger priority or a Division 1 scholarship didn’t present itself.
Long Beach State offers students over 40 club sports, ranging from paintball and esports to tennis and baseball. Additionally, if you notice that the university doesn’t have something specific that you’re interested in, they have an answer for that too.
“If you had a team in high school that we don’t have, then you can create that team,” club sports and recreation coordinator Anthony Dunbar said. “[We] give them an opportunity to start a club or organization or team that we don’t have yet … If you have an idea for something you want to do, come talk to us and we can point you in the right direction.”
No matter what sport or extracurricular activity you like doing in your free time, there’s a place for you at the Beach.
Women’s rowing is the largest and longest-tenured club sport on campus according to member Brittany Smith, but that hasn’t changed their inclusive mindset.
“Just do it because, for rowing, there’s no experience necessary,” Smith said. “All of the people that come to do rowing did no sports in high school … and we still take them on to the team. It’s inclusive, we have lots of team bonding, it’s exercise.”
If you’re looking for something a little more competitive, there are plenty of other choices out there such as ice hockey, water polo and rugby.
One of the lesser-known clubs at CSULB is the ultimate frisbee team, whose usual matchups against the likes of UCLA and Arizona State call for traveling to tournaments and having scheduled practices.
“We’re well represented, but we’re not as popular as some of the other club sports … whereas everyone knows what soccer is, everyone knows what volleyball is, and lacrosse and stuff like that,” team captain Brandon Van Deusen said. “Once they give us a chance they’re like, ‘Oh, this is a legit sport, and it’s super fun and I’m glad I gave it a chance.’”
Being able to represent your college against rival schools is something most students who grew up playing sports dreamed of. Club sports at CSULB gives students that opportunity.
“You can meet new people and friends and have an extracurricular activity just to get you out of just school-school-school,” Van Deusen said. “Take a break from school and enjoy your college life too.”
If you see a sport or activity that you’ve never done, but peaks your interest, try it.
“I was a freshman in college and I was looking for stuff to do and I kind of didn’t feel at home here yet,” said Brennan Rose, a ski and snowboard team member. “So when I was walking around at Week of Welcome I saw two things, the snowboarding club and the surfing club and I was working on deciding what to do. I went to one snowboarding meeting and figured out I’ve got to do this.”
Once Rose spent more time with the team, he knew it was for him.
“After the first trip, I fell in love with it and kept with it. It was incredibly welcoming, a very family-oriented vibe,” Rose recalled. “And if you go a lot, you’ll make the closest friends you’ll ever have. The people on [the team] became my best friends and even family at this point.”
College is a place for learning, whether it’s in a classroom setting, at a cubicle rented out in the library with your friends, or on a sports field. Club sports and recreations are a great way to learn new things or to continue doing what you already love.
“Go to the meetings, hear about what they do … try it. There’s no harm in trying,” Rose said. “In our team’s words, ‘Always go full send.’”