My Club by Julia Sullivan

 

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Women’s club team celebrating a hard fought victory against Cal Poly.

Taylor Ferdinandsen believes playing club volleyball at Santa Clara is the best decision she has made in college.

“It’s quick, it’s fast, you can make mistakes and then get over it,” the senior said. “It’s a different pace than everyday college life.”

Santa Clara University offers many sports for both men and women at the club level, including volleyball, lacrosse, and rugby. These teams practice on average three times a week and play other colleges competitively. It could be described as falling somewhere in between  Division 1 level and intramural. They offer the chance to be competitive, be part of a team, and stay in shape without the commitment of playing D1.

While sitting down with Taylor, she explains how by her senior year in high school she was simply burnt out from playing volleyball. She just wanted to go college without the pressures and stress of playing volleyball as a career. She admits that it would be hard to let go of volleyball completely. College club volleyball was her golden ticket. “Even when I didn’t have the best years or good coaches, I was still so happy I did it,” she said.

Taylor smiles as she thinks back on her decision to sign up at the fall activity fair her freshman year. Just watching Taylor brighten up when talking about her experiences it is clear how much love and passion she has for the sport.

Taylor admits there are some downsides of not being  Division 1. While club sports do receive funds from the university, they are minimal and do not cover the basics needs for each sport. In addition to the lack of support by the university, there is not much advertisement done by the university of club sports. The only fans attracted to games are drawn in by players themselves through social media usually.

“Wo Knows about us?” she asked? “No one. Have they ever advertised for us? No. Do they give us any money? No.” 

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Women’s team at 2016 Nationals in Louisville, Kentucky

The only advertising for games is done by the players themselves and most of the funding comes from player dues and fundraising done by the players.  While club sports do not bring money in for Santa Clara University like division one sports do, they still are a positive representation of SCU. Many clubs on campus create a budget for their needs that the school funds, and club sports should have the opportunity to do the same. If SCU wants to continue to have a positive representation of club sports more funding from the school will be needed.

While not every aspect of playing a club sport is perfect, it gives a talented, competitive athlete like Taylor a chance to keep playing the sport they love. For Taylor, one of the greatest things to come from being on a team is the camaraderie. In her opinion, no one can just join any club and have that instant bond over something so passionate as playing a sport.

“When you put a bunch of women together to work towards a common goal there you wouldn’t really expect it to work,” she said. “And then you have a team sport where everyone is so different. I’m different than my teammates but it doesn’t matter we can all work towards the same goal and get along and make it work.”

One thing, as trivial as it might seem, that creates an instant bond for volleyball players is the ability to scream. “Where else in your life do you get to yell? Tell me about the most stoked you have ever been in your life and say it wasn’t during sports,” Taylor says.

By Julia Sullivan