How to deal with not playing competitive sports in college

Ciecie Chen/File

Freshman year has its struggles. Whether it’s getting used to living in the dorm, being away from your family or thinking that Artichoke Basille has the best pizza in town, it’s not easy. For many, there’s another thing to add to the list of things they have to get used to. That, friends, is dealing with not playing competitive sports. This might be a weird concept for some, but all former jocks will understand.

When you’ve played soccer since kindergarten or volleyball since you could walk, going to college and suddenly not having a team to play on anymore can be strange. Years of sport camps, club sports and high school pep rallies culminate into absolutely nothing. As much as you complained about 5 a.m. swim practices or doing suicides at the end of every basketball practice, you miss the regularity and actually moving. Not to mention, it was way easier to stay in shape. The freshman 15 has many former athletes missing weekend-long tournaments and sprints, that’s for sure.

But we at the Clog believe that there’s no reason to miss competitive sports, because there are many opportunities to be athletic on campus! We realize that everyone has a very busy schedule, but if you do have time, definitely check out some of our suggestions.

IM Sports

Get a group of friends together and sign up for a super low-key and fun way to get your competitive spirit out! There are a bunch of sports to choose from, such as soccer, softball, volleyball and basketball, and people from all levels of experience can play. It’s a great way to make new friends and bond as a team!

Club Sports

If you have the time and you’re down for a less low-key experience, definitely join a club sport team! There are actually so many on campus, and if you have the skills and the dedication, you’ll fit right in! People have a great experience playing them. It’s a way to stay in shape, and you’ll make some great friends who share the same love for whatever sport you play.

Exercise at one of the many gyms around

Head on over to the RSF or Memorial Stadium Fitness Center for a morning or night workout whenever you can! The pools are open for you to swim in and there are multiple gyms around campus, so there’s no excuse to not go. Getting your adrenaline rushing and your sweat on can actually be extremely relaxing and mind-clearing. The RSF also offers a lot of really cool classes like Zumba or kickboxing — which aren’t competitive — but you should definitely check them out. Yoga is also a really cool way to exercise and destress. In addition to RSF classes, Yoga to the People in Downtown Berkeley is a free and fun place to do it.  

Play a “quirky” sport

Quidditch, Dragon Boat, Ultimate Frisbee — you name it. UC Berkeley is not known for being short on weird things, and sports is no exception. But you’d be surprised by how legit these “quirky” sports are. Quidditch is quickly becoming a worldwide phenomenon, with real rules and pretty intense practices. So give one a go! They’re competitive and a unique way to stay in shape.

Watch sports!

They don’t give freshmen free tickets to football games anymore, but if it’s something you enjoy, definitely check out the student discounts on all our sports games! Not everyone has time to practice all the time, but there’s surely time to go to a few games a year. If you can’t be competitive in your own sport, channel that energy into cheering the Golden Bears on.

Get some friends together for a pick-up game

But when all else fails, there’s really nothing better than grabbing a ball and getting a pick-up game together with some friends. People are always able to bond over competitive sports like nothing else, and sometimes some fresh air or a run around a court is just what the doctor ordered. So if you own a volleyball, soccer ball or whatever else, get some friends together and utilize the fields, gyms and other resources on campus!

To everyone missing their competitive high school sports lifestyle, know that there are many ways to revitalize that side of yourself here on campus. You may think you don’t have time, but trust us — you do. 

Contact Sunny Sichi at [email protected].