Club sports earn respect

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If you’re a frequent reader of The North Wind Sports pages, then every week, you know basically what you’re going to read.

The majority of our content is taken up by varsity sports such as football, volleyball, basketball and hockey, but there are numerous sports teams representing Northern that don’t make it in the paper – namely club sports.

The main reason for this is that The North Wind has an obligation to the athletic department and the fans of the community to cover the varsity sports. These are the sports with the largest fan base, the biggest venues and the most well-established programs.

That said, I would love to see more of our content taken up by the athletes of club sports, but being short-staffed and having only so many pages per week makes that difficult.

Club athletes at Northern are just as noteworthy as varsity athletes. Those select teams and athletes play their games for all the right reasons.

The athletes are on the road nearly every weekend of their respective seasons, and they’re not playing for an academic scholarship or to get their names in the record books. They’re simply playing their sport for the love of the game, which is the reason any athlete should play a sport.

These teams also pay to play, sometimes hundreds or even over a thousand dollars per year.

Club athletes like men’s and women’s hockey, often pay more than $1,000 in dues just to be on the team and the Lacrosse team plays teams that are mostly out of state, traveling as far as Pennsylvania for matches.

Traveling for these teams isn’t as comfortable as their varsity counterparts. They don’t receive the seats of a varsity bus, and often cram in their own cars or university vans and pool together gas money. And, most of their competitions take place on the weekend, which means they are leaving on Thursday nights after classes for the week are over.

Another admirable quality of club sports is they have great camaraderie. Many of the athletes live in houses together, and their closest friends are also their teammates. This is an aspect of many college sports teams, but the bond that these athletes share is that, most of NMU club sport athletes didn’t come to Northern to play sports.

Because of their dedication to their teams and the sport, these club athletes will walk away from Northern having had a unique college experience, usually one that is saved for the premier athletes at this university. And, though the athletes on club teams at NMU might not be earning an academic scholarship or varsity letters, the lessons they learn from the playing their sport will be just as valuable.

These athletes wear the same green and gold as our varsity teams and play their sport for the best reasons. They give their time, their money, their hard work and their dedication.

But they don’t seem to be the athletes who get their names in print, but hopefully they will, because they have earned it. They have earned it just as much as Mark Bossuah or Caryn VanBeckum.

So, I’m asking the club sport athletes at NMU to keep us in the loop. While it might not appear this way, we respect your accomplishments and want to hear from you. These pages could really use your voice.

You can contact the sports desk of The North Wind at [email protected]