Clubs enrich college life

AnnMarie Kent

My college experience wouldn’t be nearly as complete without club sailing and club sports which are so important in college.

The further I get into my senior year the more I find myself reflecting on the time I’ve spent at Northern. When I transferred here my sophomore year, I was sure of very few things, but one thing I did know was I was joining the Sailing Club. My best friend from high school was on Michigan Tech’s team and the year before I had seen how much fun she had.

My first few experiences on the water I learned a lot, the biggest lesson being that even though the boat is the one moving and not you, it’s still a work out. When winds start kicking up and you have to lock your feet into a strap and throw your upper body over the side of the boat to keep it flat, it’s a core workout. Pulling the jib tighter against the wind will make your arms ache the next morning.

Having the opportunity to come to college and learn such an incredible skill like sailing has been really fulfilling for me. That’s why club sports are important in college.

Sports aren’t for everyone and NMU has almost 300 other types of student organizations in a variety of categories for those people. There are spiritual groups, student government groups, residence life groups and others. For me, finding something to keep me active was necessary in a student organization. After playing tennis in high school and spending a year at community college not doing any sports, I needed an outlet that got me outside and having fun.

With sailing not only am I out taking advantage of the beautiful Lake Superior that we are so lucky to have, but I’ve also been able to travel all over the Midwest with my team. This semester alone I’ve been to Iowa City, Iowa, Columbus, Ohio and Kalamazoo.

The travelling might seem daunting but spending seven plus hours in a small car with your teammates actually makes you so much closer and makes a lot of memories.

Once we’re there we’re able to explore the new areas and experience the difficulties associated with sailing in new waters. Each team’s sailing club is different and they all come with their own set of challenges—sailing on a dammed river in Ohio is a lot different than sailing on a tiny inland lake in Iowa.

One of the best experiences sailing has given me is the group of friends I’ve made in and out of my team. Being a part of a team again is a really great feeling, but also by spending the weekend with teams, I’ve made friends from all around the country.

The Midwest Collegiate Sailing Association is comprised of teams from around the Midwest, but interconference regattas bring teams from the East Coast as well.

The competition on the water is fierce but off the water you create friendships that defy distance.

With all the recent budget cuts, I hope that club sports will be around in the future to enrich other college students’ experiences.