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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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An ode to club sports at A&M

Women’s Waterpolo

The spirit of competition is beautiful.
For many of us, there’s no greater bliss than competing, working hard for something bigger than yourself and giving everything you’ve got for your team. When you’re out there competing, there’s nothing more important to you than the game and your team. Even if it’s just for four quarters, nine innings, two halves or one match, the competition becomes your entire world.
To add to the allure of sports, the lessons learned through competition effortlessly translate into our everyday lives. In many ways, sports imitate life. Confidence, perseverance, hard work, leadership and trust are all absolutely essential for success in both sports and in life.
There’s nothing quite like sports, and the opportunity to participate in organized athletics should be extended to everyone.
Texas A&M has long been renowned for its high-achieving athletics programs. The culture of the 12th Man proves how important sports are to the Aggie community. However, with a student body of over 70,000 and only 20 official varsity sports, only a fraction of students get the opportunity to don the famous maroon and white and compete in the NCAA. Luckily, there’s a way for students to compete in sports through a different outlet: club athletics. Club athletics provide students with an opportunity to continue or discover their sporting passion, while also joining a community and representing the university.
To find out a little bit more about just how important club sports are to our student body, I talked to our very own women’s water polo club team. The water polo team, which was among the top teams in the nation last year, is one of countless club teams on campus that represent A&M to the highest degree through their professionalism, hard work and success.
To these athletes, the opportunity to play on this team represents so much more than a chance to get back in the pool. To engineering freshman Reagan Smith, the team means family.
“The club water polo team means family,” Smith said. “A group of people that will constantly uplift you, encourage you and help you be the best that you can.”
She isn’t the only one who found a family in club water polo. Freshman general engineering major Emma Buschbom feels similarly toward her team.
“It’s an organization so full of dedication to the sport and to each other,” Buschbom said. “Even though this team is the largest I’ve been on by far, it still feels tightly knit and welcoming. I am able to get better at a sport I love while being surrounded by people with the same goal, and blow off some steam from those crazy-stressful school days.”
Environmental engineering junior and second-year club athlete Kayla Shaunfields said she relishes this opportunity to compete.
“Club water polo gives me a sense of belonging and the perfect balance of competition and social life,” Shaunfields said. “Club water polo allows me to continue playing the sport I love, provides me with the familial team dynamic and taps into my competitive side, but never becomes a stressful obligation or draining experience.”
As our university grows, club sports will undoubtedly grow with it. More sports will become available, and more athletes will continue to represent the maroon and white through the sport they’re passionate about. And why shouldn’t that be the case? Club sporting teams provide a rare opportunity to compete, grow a community and nurture important life skills.
Allied health junior and 2022 conference player of the year Peyton Stubbe said it best.
“It’s hard to put it into words,” Stubbe said when asked about the impact that the club has had on her time at A&M. “If I had to try, I’d describe it as more of a family than a team. These are some of my best friends. No matter where I’m at or what I’m going through, I feel like I go to practice and am instantly met with so much love and support. It’s one of the special spaces on campus where I feel totally comfortable being completely authentic and where the stresses of everyday life kind of just get washed away by the amazing culture that’s been crafted.”
The women’s water polo team is just one of dozens of club athletic teams A&M has. Even from this small sample size, though, the results are conclusive. Sports are an essential part of so many students’ lives, and the opportunity to continue to play and compete in these sports in college has incredible advantages.
On that note, I implore you to go support this school’s club athletic programs. Go find out what they’re all about. If you can, maybe even consider joining one. After all, in a world full of divisiveness, why shouldn’t you choose sports?

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