This past week, I walked across the baseball field and approached the WashU varsity softball team’s dugout for practice. (The varsity players are kind enough to let us club softball players borrow the field and some equipment.) As I got closer to the group of girls gathering around the sign-in clip board, I hear my name chanted. “Jessie! Jessie! J-Monay, welcome back!”
This is great. I hate being awkward; my greatest fear is entering into a group of people and not knowing a single one. Although I should get over this fear, I was relieved that it didn’t have to be right at that moment. Walking onto the field for the first practice as a sophomore felt drastically different than it had one year earlier as a freshman.
I wasn’t worried about my placement on the team or embarrassing myself with insufficient skills in front of girls I didn’t know. These were my teammates and friends now. I was so glad that I stuck with playing on the team despite my nervous beginnings. That uneasy feeling seems insignificant in the great scheme of things now. However, that memory of my anxiousness helped encourage me to reach out to freshmen and help them feel welcome and well-accustomed. I told them not to worry, and that the coaches are extremely nice and understanding.
Playing on a club team is a great extra activity aside from academics. It is an escape from stress, it ensures that I am getting at least some exercise, and helped me recognize more familiar faces right off the bat while on campus. Eventually, those familiar faces become friends. Club sports are more fun when taken seriously in terms of consistency and effort, however they do not require as big of a commitment as varsity sports. I enjoy going to practice, games, and social outings with the team but not feel pressured to go if I am feeling too busy.