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Benchwarmers Ambition

Team Sports Aren’t the Only ‘Sports’ Offered at the University of Hawaii at Hilo


Article and Photography by Maria Vicente

Getting hit in the face with any sort of spherical object might, in some cases, lead to at least a bit of childhood trauma. Those with athleticism running through their veins from birth may not know this pain. Or, perhaps, it was this exact pain that prompted the athletically elite to beat the thing that beat them. Unfortunately, for those never skilled enough to make the team the University of Hawaii at Hilo athletic department isn’t exactly a point of interest. Campus Recreation, however, has another idea of what constitutes a sporting activity.
There are approximately six sports clubs offered to students attending UH Hilo. These sports clubs include sailing, canoe, rugby, jujitsu, judo and water polo. A sports club is essentially a program that allows any student to enjoy the recreation, competition and instruction of an athletic activity, without necessarily having to commit to a team. Campus Recreation has designed these programs to “promote participation in a wider variety of sport activities,” and accompany the university’s intramural, intercollegiate, and educational opportunities.
So, what exactly is the difference between a club and a team? Rebecca Dumo-Qualters, president of the sailing club, provides a bit of insight, “A club is a social experience where students have the freedom to learn and make mistakes without the pressure of affecting teammates.” Having athletic experience in high school has allowed the sailing club president to see the best of both worlds. Dumo-Qualters goes on to define a team as having to perform at a certain standard all the time. Athletes face a demanding schedule that also requires higher levels of performance.
How about this sailing club? Dumo-Qualters negates all qualms with a one-word description of the club: relaxed. A smile spreads across her face as she finds her words, “Sailing club is super enjoyable. It’s a great way to get out on the water and meet peofebruary 28ple.” The club leader began her presidency in the fall of 2014. She’s been a member since 2012 when the former president, her roommate, encouraged her to join. The club currently sees about ten regular faces, but welcomes all new members. The great thing about the club is that it doesn’t require any experience. New sailors are able to get hands-on experience that starts with rigging the boat. However, it’s not just the people keeping the club alive.
Advertising is key for any sports clubs wanting to expand or develop. “I think that students know about the sports clubs but they don’t necessarily know how to get involved. They need times and locations,” said Dumo-Qualters. The sailing club actively ensures that students are aware of when they meet by posting flyers, tabling during orientation and club fair events, and even collaborating with the Student Life Center. Dumo-Qualters makes sure to stay organized and in contact with other officers and club members. She affirms the club’s goal to spread sailing knowledge by training her members to help newcomers. As one might assume, lack of advertising can be detrimental, but lack of interest could be worse.
There aren’t many sports clubs offered by UH Hilo, especially if you compare UH Hilo’s six to the University of Alabama’s 20 and counting. UA offers sports clubs like kayaking, fishing, disc golf, and ultimate frisbee among many others. UA defines their sports clubs much the same way that UH Hilo does. The difference, still, is that UA provides students with an abundance of sports club opportunities.
UH Hilo allows students to create clubs. Starting up a sports club only requires four people in order to be official. A club also needs an advisor and a dedicated president. Any idea, whether it’s kayaking, fishing, or hiking, perhaps, could potentially turn into a club. For more information on starting a sports club, contact Mackenzie Slayton at mackenzieslayton@hawaii. edu. To find out more about the sailing club, contact the club at hilosail@hawaii.edu. Every Saturday, outside of the Campus Bookstore at 10:30 a.m., a shuttle brings students to the bayfront for a day of sailing. It’s a beautiful way to view Downtown Hilo and Coconut Island from the water. Sail time is usually from about 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. but students can feel free to leave whenever they need to.
Campus Recreation aims to provide all students with a means to achieve healthy lifestyles, social interactions and leadership skills. Some people joined UH Hilo with those goals in mind. Others may have adopted a few or all of them. But, inside everyone who’s ever warmed a bench seat, or never played the right game, is ambition. Ambition is a resource, and, paired with an idea, is a sports club waiting to happen.

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