ASI Sport Club leaders await return to normalcy

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic’s rapid rise in cases, ASI Sport Clubs have been halted for yet another semester. This academic year, about 30 home games and tournaments have been canceled leaving club leaders to navigate the remote environment by staying connected virtually with their teams and planning for their return to competition.

These cancellations came as a significant blow to club sport club members as the CPP campus only began hosting home games in 2019, following years of preparation.

“This last school year we hosted a regional ultimate frisbee tournament, volleyball club tournaments, and basketball home games,” said Competitive Sports Coordinator Kaycee Tanioka. “Quite a number of other universities would come to CPP to compete, but now we’re in a place where clubs are completely unable to be active in-person on or off-campus, which is a huge contrast from last year’s progression.”

The Kendo and Iaido’s first-ever virtual Zoom meeting. (Courtesy of CPP Kendo and Iaido Club)

Nearly all of the clubs have found it virtually impossible to practice during this time, unless students choose to exercise these activities on their own, separate from campus affiliation. Club leaders have continued their efforts to keep team members engaged and excited about the sport they represent.

“Stepping into a leadership position during a pandemic definitely required some adaptation,” said second-year architecture student and Kendo and Iaido Club Secretary Meilinda Darmawan. “During this time, communication with other officers and members of the club must significantly increase in terms of frequency and promptness. Although we are in a pandemic, we still want to give our club members a good experience.”

In order to register a new sports club, there must be at least five members interested in starting a new club and a president, scheduler and treasurer must be appointed. A prospective club then must be approved by a university advisor and undergo Club and Organization Registration Education and training with the Office of Student Life and Cultural Centers.

ASI Sports Clubs have allowed students to not only practice and compete at the collegiate level but also build relationships with like-minded students. Club leaders work to ensure students are getting the most out of each practice, activity and conversation.

“To be an ASI Sports Club leader takes a lot of work,” said fourth-year biotechnology student and Bronco Ascenders Co-President Diego Henriquez. “The social aspect is pretty intense. We’re a pretty tight-knit group and our group chat remains fairly active. Being there is probably the single most important thing you can do.”

The Bronco Ascenders pre-COVID pandemic. (Courtesy of ASI Sports Clubs)

While the physical separation has upended the clubs’ ability to train, it has also presented a mental toll as many of these clubs have built something deeper than a sports team, but a family.

The clubs’ communities allow members to stay in contact and continue to learn and grow as teammates and friends. Many of the students involved in sports clubs are staying active and practice techniques they’ve learned in the past.

“It has been difficult being a leader of a sports club during this pandemic,” said second-year mechanical engineering student and Kendo and Iaido Club President Adrian Chua. “Finding new ways to practice and keep things engaging is troublesome and difficult during this time. Our club has given me a place to interact with other like-minded people. I believe being patient and having good time management skills are key to leadership, especially during the pandemic.”

There are currently no plans to return to in-person practice or competition in the spring for sports clubs, but leaders are hopeful for a strong return in the fall.

“These clubs are as much athletic clubs as they are social,” said fourth-year mechanical engineering student and Bronco Ascenders President Marshall Fielding. Suddenly losing all those connections and the sport for so long removes a major source of inspiration and joy. Of course, we still talk, but nothing is an adequate replacement for the kind of friendships you create.”

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