Out of the spotlight of mainstream varsity sports lie the club teams, lacking the attention of the big time, scholarship programs, not enjoying the publicity of their larger relations but establishing a unique and amazing arena for athletic competition.

A little over two weeks ago the Georgetown men’s club volleyball team traveled to Chicago to play in the Loyola of Chicago MCVA Invitational. They didn’t take a charter plane. They didn’t stay at a luxury hotel, or any hotel for that matter. Rather, they drove 13 hours, through a blizzard, to their destination, taking shelter at the homes of some of the team member’s families to conserve their limited budget.

At the tournament, the club team compiled a 4-0-2 record and won the Silver Division Championship, something that team member Eddie Ferrer was quite excited about.

“I have been playing at Georgetown for three years, and I cannot remember the last time we won a match let alone go undefeated with a record of 4-0-2 and a Silver Division Championship,” Ferrer said. Still, Ferrer noted that the true beauty of the weekend was the interaction of the team, united by the sport.

“On the court, the bonding we had done during the 13-hour car ride was evident,” Ferrer said. “Everyone took his turn when it was his time and made his contribution. When one player was off, another player would step up and come through with huge plays.”

This is just one of the elements that make club sports so entertaining, and remarkable. There are no superstars in club sports, no scholarships to be given, no television cameras broadcasting the games into living rooms around the country, just athletes playing the games they love.

While club sports have finally been given funding by Georgetown, it still doesn’t make it easy on the teams. Especially when it comes to transportation.

“We usually cram into whatever car we can find,” Patrick Winter, a member of the Georgetown club hockey team said. “I can remember being in some pretty bizarre positions – people thrown in the back with equipment, balled up.”

Add to that the unique aroma of sweaty, mildewed hockey equipment caressing your nasal cavity for two hours, or longer in some cases, and you have a pretty good definition of the word dedication.

And that doesn’t mention the time of day or night when the teams return to campus. Since the hockey team can’t afford to stay over at a hotel or motel, they drive back to campus after each game. While the arrival times back at Georgetown vary, to put it in context, Winter stated that the team doesn’t return to campus from its home games until 12:30 a.m.

When the team plays at its home rink in Washington, D.C., it can be a bit of an adventure. Last year the team played at Fort Dupont, an old rink in the Southeast part of the district.

“We stopped playing there for safety concerns,” Winter said.

But the team still went to its games last season and continues to pack itself into cars for the long haul to games both home and away this season. All in the name of sport.

I say this not to condemn large, nationally recognized scholarship programs, or merely to urge support for the club sports program. I say this because this is sport in its purest form. Athletes traveling across the country, practicing and working for the sole purpose of athletic competition.

That is something I find truly impressive.

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