Despite differences, club sports resemble team sports at South

Despite+differences%2C+club+sports+resemble+team+sports+at+South

Members of the women’s rugby team during a game last spring.

Elika Beck, Staff writer

If you’re familiar with South, you may have heard of the terms ‘club sports’ and ‘team sports’. Though they might sound similar, there are a few big differences between the two when it comes to funding and competition. It’s time to clear the air and look at what these differences between the two actually amount to. 

The main difference between club sports and team sports is that club sports are not sponsored by the school district or sanctioned by the state high school league. This means that they receive no funding from the school or district. Coaching positions are usually filled by volunteers and students don’t have to pay the standard participation fee that is required for team, school-sponsored sports. In addition, club sports don’t participate in tournaments, such as section and state tournaments, that are held by the state high school league.

In some ways, club sports resemble team sports at South. Each sport has a specific season during the school year in which they take place. The seasons are either fall, winter or spring. Club sports, like team sports, have practices each week and games or competitions against other clubs around the metro and state.

South High has four sports that are considered ‘clubs’ instead of ‘teams’: ping pong, rugby, archery, and bowling. Each are more nontraditional sports that are not offered at all schools, especially Minneapolis Public Schools (MPS). The sports usually aren’t popular enough to get the minimum number of students from one school to participate in competition, forcing multiple schools to merge in order to form a club. According to some participants, practices for some clubs can often be more laid back, due to the absence of pressure from the possibility of competing at the state level.

At South, the most popular club sport, in terms of participation, is rugby. In addition to not being sanctioned by the Minnesota State High School League, the school couldn’t cover the insurance needed to play, according to a member of the women’s team, junior Margaret Wildberger. An explanation for this could be that rugby is a rough sport involving more risks than some other sports causing insurance to cost more.

The club consists of men’s and women’s teams, each organized differently. The women’s club has one team for all MPS high schools. “The team starts practicing in January,” said sophomore Scout Peterson, with practice twice a week at either the midtown YWCA or Sibley park. They participate in games once a week against teams from suburban high schools. Wildberger enjoys playing rugby because “the team is fun and rugby is a rough contact sport.”

There are two men’s rugby teams for MPS high schools. South is part of the South Metro team which consists of South and Roosevelt students. According to Senior Davendra Reghubir, they follow a schedule similar to the women’s team with practices starting in February and  games beginning in the spring.

Senior Andrew Kommer, a bowling club participant, said that the team starts practicing a couple weeks before school starts in August, mirroring high school fall sports. The season lasts about twelve weeks, with games starting a few weeks after practices start.

The South High Archery club isn’t in as good of shape as the above clubs. Last year, the team didn’t have enough participants to compete, according to sophomore Wilson Cross. However they still practiced everyday and are hoping to get enough participants this year to go to state or nationals. Archery is a spring sport, which meets everyday after school. Cross enjoys archery because he “likes doing a sport that teaches you how to use a weapon.”

South’s table tennis, or ping pong, club is the school’s newest sports club. The club started in the 2008-09 school year and has finished fifth in the state tournament each year. Junior Bennett Snyder said the team never practices together as a whole but everyone in the club participated in the state tournament, which was the last weekend in January.
Some people who participate in these clubs think that the clubs should become school-sponsored sports. Wildberger commented that rugby should be school-sponsored because “then we’d get to use South facilities like the weight room.” Snyder agreed saying, “I think [ping pong] should be [a school-sponsored sport]; at a lot of other schools it is.”

Other students believe that club sports aren’t as intense as South’s sanctioned sports teams. “I think they’re taken less seriously by the people who play them,” said South soccer player and junior Breanna Di Martino.

Regardless of the validity of this statement, South club sports still practice and compete regularly just like school-sponsored sports. Most importantly, they remain to be activities that build community within South.