After playing with a club soccer team since third grade, I reluctantly decided to stop playing when I began college. Sports had always been a big part of my life, from childhood through high school, where I played soccer, ran track, and swam for the swim team. However, by college, I felt burnt out and nervous about the academic workload. I was initially surprised at the amount of time I had when I wasn’t playing soccer every weekend and traveling miles away for tournaments.
Unfortunately, I quickly learned how boring it is to run on a treadmill and I really missed being part of a team. In an effort to fill the soccer-shaped hole in my heart, I decided to try out for Club Field Hockey. I had never played field hockey before but my mom played in college, and she was excited about it. I heard the formations and general idea was similar to soccer, but after my first week of field hockey, I could safely say this is not true, at least not for me. Sprinting in a skirt and holding a stick (that was much heavier than it looked), I felt like a fish out of water, I was pretty terrible at field hockey and ended up quitting after the first season.
Throughout my first year at Pitzer, I played intramural inner tube water polo with my friends from my first year orientation trip and intramural soccer. I tried my best to hop on hiking and backpacking trips with friends through Pitzer Outdoor Adventures. I also went to free workout classes around the 5Cs with my roommate like Zumba and dance. When I discovered the physical education classes on the course catalog, I took yoga, swimming, kickboxing, and tennis!
I got involved with a class called Tennis and Community Engagement, where I could practice and instruct tennis in underserved school districts as part of an after school program. It was easy to practice social responsibility, one of Pitzer’s core values, when I was doing something I loved. While I learned how many opportunities for physical activity the 5Cs had to offer, I still missed the team culture I had with my soccer team growing up. My search ended at the beginning of my sophomore year when I found out the Women’s Club Soccer program was restarting. After fighting for funding, space, and resources, our team became well established and now plays in the West Coast Soccer Association. I definitely saw student engagement in action when I saw Claremont students working with administration to reestablish this club.
The team, Claremont FC, has been such an important part of my college experience. Not only is the team competitive and my skills improved, it’s incredibly empowering to be surrounded by such strong and smart women on a regular basis. I feel very grateful to spend time on and off the field with my teammates. Moreover, it’s been a fantastic opportunity to meet people from the other colleges. Claremont FC has provided me, as the other club sports teams have provided Pitzer students, with the ideal athletic community — one which is competitive but allows enough time to concentrate on school work and be involved with other campus organizations. As a senior and the current captain of Claremont FC, I can say my experience with this team and these people has meant the world to me.
In my last year at Pitzer, I’m also still taking PE tennis classes and finding opportunities to be active outdoors. One of my favorite things about Pitzer is that you don’t have to be part of a varsity team to be an athlete! With countless opportunities to play sports through free classes at the Gold Student Center, PE courses, club, or varsity sports, Pitzer is a great place to let your competitive side out!
Posted by Natalie Honan ’17