BY: KRISTINA SOUTHERN
The full moon still hangs high in the sky as cars approach the Peter Archer Rowing Center. The pitter-patter of shoes suddenly echoes throughout the parking lot, and long before most of us are awake, the Long Beach State women's crew team has just begun their morning practice. Long Beach State currently has ten Division I National Collegiate Athletic Association, or NCAA teams. They include teams like volleyball, basketball, and baseball, but what about other competitive sports like Ice Hockey, Rugby, or Crew? There are over 33 club sports on campus, all of which represent Long Beach State, but unlike the NCAA teams, the student members sometimes pay a hefty price to be apart of them.
Despite the out of pocket expenses and motley equipment, athletes from club sports are no different than their school sponsored counterparts. Of course there are the more competitive teams such as Lacrosse and Soccer, but most are lesser-known club teams like Archery, Surfing, Kung Fu and Ultimate Frisbee.
Ice Hockey James Robelotto, a second year International Business major is the captain of the Long Beach Ice Hockey team. He started off kicking a roller hockey puck around and eventually found his way to the ice at eight years old. As do most club teams, Ice Hockey receives grant money from ASI, but not enough to cover even the basic fees. Ice time alone cost the team $200 every hour and a half, not to mention the referee charge and jersey rentals. The total cost of ice hockey is $2,300 a year for each player. Due to ice rental fees, the team gets four and half hours a week of ice time, and 10 hours of off ice practice.
The team competes in the American Collegiate Hockey Association, or ACHA with several other club teams from around the country. According to Robelotto, dedication is not an issue. "This is our last hoorah when it comes to competitive Ice Hockey," says Robelotto, "when you're playing NCAA there's always a chance you could go pro or semi-pro." Most the men that join, end up drawing out their class schedules to cover five years in order to get in that last year of playing time. Their first home game is Friday October 8th at Glacial Gardens in Lakewood.
Ultimate Frisbee The captain of the women's Ultimate Frisbee team, fourth year Drawing and Painting major, Patricia Anderson, started playing this soccer and football mix when she was a junior in high school. The team, No Regrets, practices around six to seven hours a week not including personal workouts. According to the USA Ultimate website, formerly known as the Ultimate Players Association, or UPA, the sport is expanding annually with more than 30,000 members across the nation. Out of pocket expenses can range from $200 or more including travel and tournament fees as well as the USA Ultimate membership fee of $30.
When compared to other universities, the Long Beach State Ultimate team receives far less funding. UCLA for example provides equipment, uniforms and a paid coach to its players. Anderson explained that following NCAA regulations and actually being considered a school sport is often a controversial topic due to the lax nature of the sport. "It's not a hippie sport, it's really competitive and we have lots of fun," says Anderson, "we don't [have] the prestige as other teams, but we are just as competitive." No Regrets will attend their first tournament in San Luis Obispo on October 23rd.
Crew Jessica Humphrey, a fourth year Kinesiology and Physical Education major is the current varsity M.V.P. "We're a club sport in a sponsored scholarship rowing world is really what it comes down to," she says. Crew dues are $500 a semester not including uniforms or travel expenses. A full year ranges from $1500 to $2000. Unlike most club teams, the women's crew team competes against NCAA schools from all over the nation.
Crew teams must also travel with their boats, making it a very expensive and time intensive sport. This proves to be difficult when trying to keep athletes from dropping out. Out of the 30 new rowers each fall, only half end up staying for the whole year, and even less than that come back for the next season. On-water practices start early since motorboats are banned on the water until eight in the morning. The rowers spend seven and a half hours a week on water, and about six more off water. Their first home regatta at Marine Stadium on Saturday November 13th.