A Frisbee soars through the air at the intramural fields as one girl dives to catch it in end zone. On the rugby pitch, men start their practice with a lap around the field.
Every day athletes line a field, pitch or court to participate in club sports and represent John Brown University across the nation. Students at JBU can select from three club sports—ultimate frisbee, rugby, and volleyball—to compete against other universities. These students do not receive scholarships to play, but they spend multiple hours each week preparing for their season.
Last year, women and men’s teams represented JBU in cities such as Atlanta, Houston and Tulsa in tournaments and games.
The men’s rugby team, a club since 1981, teaches players to play with “Christ over all” on their backs. Luke McIlvain, junior and president of the men’s rugby team, said “Every time we go to practice, it’s stressing the fundamentals of rugby and the fact that we are playing God’s game.”
“The sport of rugby is very fast-paced and it’s like the fun of football mixed with the fun of soccer,” McIlvain said. “You get to hit people, and be in contact with people.”
Rugby is not just for men. Sophomore Mary Freeman, captain of the women’s team, said she enjoys rugby for the community she has gained. “It’s just like any other team sport, if you try to do it alone and do it all yourself and be the best, you’re going to fall on your face.”
This is the fifth year that there is a women’s rugby team on campus. Freeman said “The women’s rugby team is so encouraging and uplifting and understands if you can’t be there every single day or that you’re going through stuff.”
Last year, the women’s team played in Atlanta at the national tournament, where they placed third. They graduated a lot of seniors, Freeman said, so they are looking for students to fill in some of the spots those players left.
Both rugby and Frisbee practice three times a week. During the first semester players warm up, condition, and learn the fundamentals of the sport. Sophomore Anna Carlson, who plays both rugby and Frisbee, anticipates more playing time this season in Frisbee because she spent most of last year learning how to play the game.
“Even if you feel like you’re really bad the first couple practices, that’s how everyone starts off,” Carlson said. “Everyone on the team is super supportive and super encouraging.” Carlson said that students should go to multiple practices to determine whether the sport is for them or not.
Another club sport that encourages students to join even if they have never played before is volleyball. Lauren Marsh, president of the women’s volleyball club, said rec nights on Tuesday and Thursday is a time for students of all skill levels to hit a volleyball.
“We see it as a time to all come together and play, without worrying about being judged,” Marsh said.
Volleyball meets twice a week in the Walton Lifetime Health Complex, where they warm up, play games, and scrimmage. Marsh said volleyball is a great stress reliever and a way to take your mind off homework.
They also offer a chance to play on a team and travel for tournaments. Marsh said there will be tryouts sometime during the semester for those who want to participate.
Overall, Carlson said students should try these sports JBU offers. “Don’t be discouraged and don’t be afraid. They’ll help you out until you get it down.”