Club Sports in Full Swing
With club sport tryouts behind us, new and old members join together for the start of their season.
As Dartmouth has returned to in-person classes, students have come back to Hanover eager to join the many sports clubs across campus.
Athletics are an integral part of Dartmouth life. Not only is the community home to several strong varsity sports teams, but also vibrant club teams. With the workload Dartmouth students manage, playing a sport provides a reprieve from the academic pressures of everyday life. The pandemic halted the majority of in-person workouts, and some club sports resorted to Zoom meetings to host informal check-ins and perhaps engage in some conditioning. Of course, this also posed other challenges, as some people were living across the world in different time zones with conflicting schedules.
For the club teams, the competition level truly varies by sport; however, this year posed another challenge, with many sophomores trying out for the first time because the restrictions last year made it difficult for most teams to recruit new players.
Club Tennis has an A and a B team. The A team practices a minimum of three times per week and competes in both regional and national tournaments, while the B team practices two to three per week and competes in local tournaments. Club Tennis B team captain Sachin Ganesh ’22 said that this year’s tryout process was different from other years because there are two classes — 2024 and 2025 — competing for limited spots.
“It was a challenge to give everyone a fair opportunity to get on the team, and as a result, we had to extend the tryout process over a much longer period than we did in the past,” Ganesh said, standing on the clay courts outside of Alumni Gym.
Furthermore, the Boss Tennis Center has been converted into isolation housing due to the pandemic, which will create an additional challenge for when the weather shifts later on in the year.
As a member of the Class of 2025 myself, I was both anxious and excited to try out for a club team. My previous tennis season occurred this past spring rather than the fall of 2020, so practices and tournaments were incredibly restricted. Stepping onto the court with at least twenty other talented tennis players in my class was nerve-wracking. After the first round of tryouts, there were callbacks, and the entire process took approximately two weeks to finalize the A and B teams.
Tryouts for club sports are also a great way to meet new people and bond over a shared experience. I met several tennis players who were willing to hit on the weekends, and we exchanged phone numbers and even had dinner together. Even for those who don’t make a team, you can still make great friends and have fun exercising throughout the tryout process.
While tennis had a prolonged tryout process, other sports simply had no cuts, meaning that anyone who attended tryouts made the team. Tom Lloyd ’25, from London, spoke to his positive experience as a new member of Dartmouth’s club baseball team. As a talented cricket player, he wanted to find a sports community in the U.S. that allowed him to put his skills to use. Lloyd said he loves the energy that radiates from his team and explained that their twice-weekly evening practice gives him a great opportunity to clear his mind during an academically challenging week. They play games on the weekends, with a current record of 2-2.
Lloyd said he was able to learn a new sport using skills he developed through cricket; one player on the team is teaching him to pitch baseball-style.
“It’s been really interesting for me because it’s a similar concept to cricket, which is finding and creating speed rather than just throwing it,” Lloyd said.
Lloyd also tried out for club soccer and said that the experience was very different from club baseball. Tryouts were a much more intense process, he said, with most hopefuls cut due to the few spots available on the team.
Lloyd said he is happy with his spot on the baseball team and said that the soccer vibe was “too serious” for what he was looking for in a club sport.
Parker Rabinowitz ’25, a competitive water polo player, spoke of her experience with Dartmouth’s club water polo team. Similar to baseball, anyone who attends water polo practice becomes a member of the club team. Parker said that the team has been bonding through practice and mixers.
“You have to be able to swim! And stay afloat,” Rabinowitz laughed after I asked if experience was necessary. “It’s a good way to stay active and not have to go to the gym, not have to sweat.”
Julian Perez-Doval ’23, a member of the club tennis team, said that his favorite part of a club sport is the people.
“[I appreciate] having a group of people that are excited to play, people who play well and a community that shares something with me that a lot of my friends in the past here at Dartmouth have not, so it’s nice to see that come together,” Perez-Doval said.
Overall, club sport athletes are grateful to be back on campus, back on the court, back on the field and back in the pool.