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Competing in sports at TCU isn’t just for NCAA players

first_imgTCU rowing program strengthens after facing COVID-19 setbacks Katherine Griffithhttps://www.tcu360.com/author/katherine-griffith/ Facebook ReddIt Katherine Griffithhttps://www.tcu360.com/author/katherine-griffith/ TCU club baseball team after one of their games.Photo courtesy of Jeremy Fox. ReddIt Winter storm benefits businesses around TCU Twitter Twitter Facebook Spring athletes get another year of eligibility Katherine Griffithhttps://www.tcu360.com/author/katherine-griffith/center_img Linkedin Reservations at TCU Recreation Center in high demand due to pandemic guidelines TCU baseball finds their biggest fan just by saying hello Katherine Griffith + posts printWith just 347 Division I schools in the U.S., most student-athletes who want to play their sport at the top level will never get that opportunity. Instead, many prospective college athletescompete at the club level. These teams are not limited to high-school athletes — they offer opportunities to anyone who is looking to exercise.MaryEllen Milam, the associate director of programs at TCU, said the benefits ofplaying club sports include: Sense of community Physical and mental releases of exercise Sport participation at a competitive level beyond highschoolPositive use of free timePride in representing the UniversityPearce Kurth and teammates after a club baseball game. Photo courtesy of Pearce KurthPearce Kurth and Jeremy Fox, members of the TCUclub baseball team, weren’t able to play baseball in college, but they decidedit wasn’t time to hang up the bat and glove just yet. “I think it is every kid’s dream to play baseball for their college, but there comes a point when you realize it might not be possible,” Fox said. The two decided to join the team to get four moreyears of playing on the diamond. “Everyone just wants to play and have fun,” Foxsaid. For some students, such as Becca Curran, academics overshadow athletics. A member of the women’s club basketball team, she had the opportunity to play collegiately, but earning a degree is more important for her. “I decided to go to TCU, instead of pursuing athletics [at a Division III school], because I received a really good academic scholarship to TCU that I couldn’t pass up,” Curran said. “Overall, I decided to focus on academics rather than athletics.”Even though Curran does not represent her schoolat the NCAA level, she does get to continue to play her sport while receiving apsychology degree.On top of the academic curriculum, some studentschoose club sports at TCU because they felt the overall college experience wasmore important than pursuing their athletic career at smaller schools, Miliamsaid.Katrina Metcalf, another member of the women’s club basketball team, was offered positions on the team at Chapman University and Smith College but choose to forgo those offers to get the full college experience.“I felt that playing basketball in college wouldbe a really great experience, but I was worried I would look back on my collegeexperience and feel like I missed out on just being a regular college student,”Metcalf said. Students transitioning from high school athleticsto club sports have to learn to operate a team all by themselves, anotherdifference between Division I and club sports. TCU women’s club basketball team with their guest coach. Photo courtesy of Becca Carran.Kurth and Fox both serve as player coaches forthe baseball club team. “Together, Pearce and I make the line up anddecide who will be starting for us for each game,” Fox said. Some club teams have guest coaches — one of the players on the women’s club basketball team brought in her dad for pointers. On top of coaching limitations, club teams alsostruggle with drawing fans consistently.  “Sometimesour parents that live locally will come and watch us play, but we don’t everhave students come to our games,” Fox said. Club athletes do not get the glory that comes with being a Division I athlete, but they continue to play the game they love, which is what matters most to these students. “Now that we are here, I still get to go to thecollege I wanted to go to all along, and I still get to play baseball,” Foxsaid. “Baseball has always been my favorite sport, and I didn’t want to cut itout of my life.”Club sports are not just entertaining; they also help these students develop into who they are today.“I feel like I’ve had the opportunity to get involved in so many different areas on campus at TCU that have pushed me to grow as a leader and as an individual,” Metcalf said. “I’m really thankful to be at TCU and feel like I would probably be a different person if I went to another university.”The club baseball and women’s basketball teams are currently holding practices and looking for the newest additions to their team. To join the team, you can sign up on TCU Engage. 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