Club sports return to Northwestern following COVID-19 hiatus


Carly Schulman/Daily Senior Staffer

A member of the sailing team. Club sports have resumed regular practices after a COVID-19 hiatus.

Fiona Roach, Reporter

After being limited for more than a year due to the pandemic, Northwestern club sports are back in full force.

NU offers 38 club sports, ranging from soccer to spikeball. In the 2020-21 academic year, NU’s COVID-19 guidelines required these teams to limit the number of participants and wear masks while practicing. 

Some club sports, like swimming and tennis, resumed practice a few times a week last spring. Club rowing resumed in winter 2021, but the team was unable to practice in the water until this quarter.

For some athletes, the lack of traditional practice and games led to a loss of skill. Communication sophomore Maggie Stanton, who plays for the women’s club soccer team, said she didn’t completely remember certain rules, including what constitutes being offsides or fouling another player.

Stanton also felt that the quarter system adds an extra challenge to the team, as they do not have as much time to practice together and build team chemistry before the season starts as their competitors do.

“Our team is made the first week of school and then competition starts the next week. It’s kind of hard when other teams have been playing together for a month,” Stanton said. 

Despite this, Stanton said the team has bonded through going to practice and traveling to meets throughout the Midwest.

Medill junior Andrea Hancock, captain of the women’s crew team, said she was unsure how the team would perform at competitions this school year, given how long it had been without traditional games.

“We had spent so long indoors on the rowing machines, and we knew those times well, but we didn’t really understand what we were going to look like as a team on the water,” Hancock said.

Following a travel hiatus last year, the club crew team has already posted a strong performance at the Head of The Charles Regatta in Boston, with the women’s team coming in 13th. 

McCormick senior Alexander Jimenez, men’s crew team captain, said the regatta in Boston was much bigger than their usual races held in the Midwest. 

After not being able to play last year, many students are enthusiastic to get back into their sports. Weinberg sophomore Lucy Hederick, a member of the club tennis team, said many more students tried out this year than last year. She attributed the increased demand to the lack of available activities over quarantine. 

For Jimenez, the return of club sports is about much more than just competition. It also means spending time with friends and teammates again. The crew team returned to practice last year, but he said it wasn’t the same level of connection with his teammates as in years prior.

“Crew is a big part of my social life on campus,” Jimenez said. “It’s been a big part of my college experience.”

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Twitter: @fionaroach03

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