Club sports occupy a unique niche at Geneseo. These teams provide students with the opportunity to build strong friendships and to nurture a healthy competitive spirit. Because the NCAA does not sanction them, club sports can be as intense as the individual members want them to be.
This can be seen particularly in crew––the team gets up before the sun rises to practice rowing on Conesus Lake. Women’s crew captain sophomore Kati Buck said that the team embraces the competitiveness of big meets.
“Since there are teams out there like Harvard [University] and Yale [University] that are really, really good, we have a lot of room where we can get better and better,” she said. “There’s a lot of room for us to decide what we want to be.”
“We’re not getting up at 5:30 a.m. to lose on purpose,” men’s crew captain sophomore Alec Rhodes added. “The nature of the sport itself attracts people who are very competitive.”
Like crew, club rugby naturally draws in competitive people. President of “Warthog” rugby junior Ben Rafte explained that he was hooked as soon as he started practicing with the team.
“I joined three days into freshman year,” he said. “I always liked playing contact sports and one of my friends from high school joined the team immediately because he knew some guys … and I thought, ‘Why not?’ I immediately loved it.”
One thing that connects all club sports is the bond built between teammates. This holds true for both crew and rugby.
“It gives people a network of people to depend on with new friends every year,” crew president sophomore Zachary Randall said.
“Everyone’s together and has each other’s back no matter what,” Rafte said. “I could ask anything of any of the guys on the team and they’d immediately help me out.”
That connection is established through both off-field bonding and on-field competitions. In that way, club sports are different than social fraternities and sororities.
“It’s great because it gives people who are not necessarily looking for a fraternity or sorority a fraternal aspect in the team,” Randall said. “We’re kind of similar, but we have another activity that we focus on. But we also have that social aspect.”
According to Rafte, some unique challenges that club sports face are getting funding and getting a sense of support from the administration.
“We play on Onondaga Field for practices. It’s literally the worst field I’ve ever played on,” he said. “We’ve told the school that we’d be willing to pay for field time and they’re just unwilling. They completely shut us down.”
There are 13 recognized club sports at Geneseo, with other unofficial clubs such as women’s club soccer––commonly known as Team Fucking Sweet or TFS. Regardless of recognition, both fraternal and sororal bonds exist on club sports teams that aren’t seen in many other places.
“We’ve never had the greatest reputation on campus,” Rafte said. “But it’s always the greatest guys that want to have fun together, be weird together and be who we are together–– it’s just been great.”