26 September 2012: With the 2012-2013 school year finally underway, Montclair State University Campus Recreation’s Club Sports is gearing up for what is projected to be their most active season to date. The commencement of the season has come with a few changes, most notably the increase of staff members within their organization. Changes this year also include the addition of five new sports teams under “Club Sports” management: Softball, Running, Women’s Soccer, Wrestling and Tennis. Dealing now with a considerably larger schedule and close to double the staff members, “Club Sports” is determined to provide excitement for students and staff alike this landmark season.
Junior Sean Gillan, who was recently employed by the Campus Recreation Center’s Club Sports as a financial coordinator, commented on his organization’s overall agenda and growing popularity: “The goal of this year’s Club Sports organization is to expand our realm of influence…we want to have more sports, we want to have influence on the campus, lead people to have more active lifestyles and be able to compete without having to be at a varsity level.” Gillan continued, “We knew after the interest meetings held at the Recreation Center that there were a lot of people willing to participate in our programs. We pretty much doubled our staff this year, and brought on a lot of new different sports.”
Gillan also mentioned that Club Sports is pushing for a men’s soccer league this upcoming spring, but nothing concrete has been established as of yet. Regardless, the new sport teams offered this year only compliment the pre-existing club sports that were offered at Montclair in the past, which include: men's volleyball, men’s baseball, women's volleyball, ballroom dance, swim, men’s basketball, and table tennis.
Consistently, Men’s Baseball and Basketball annually rank as the more popular club sports managed by the Recreation Center. Nick Tomasso, who works for Campus Recreation’s Intramural Sports and is also apart of University’s club baseball team, says he can testify for the baseball club’s ever-increasing popularity, unity and strength. Considering the trials of his team last year and the upcoming hopes for this year, Tomasso had this to say about his club: “Our Secretary Brian Fredrick spoke a few words to me sometime after practice, and he said ‘This group is different from the past. It isn’t a bad thing but think about it. The first year we thought we could win, but we didn’t really win too many games. Last year we were very confident and we won many games but not all of them. This year we are confident, and we know we can be the number one team in our division.’”
Tomasso also commented on the changes in playing location for the baseball club, which has undeniably been met with praise by both club and fans alike, “This year we have been granted the opportunity to play on the local campus field along with the Jackals and the school team. Don’t fret, you will have plenty opportunities to come out and support us.” The club baseball team’s first home game is at 3:30 P.M. on Friday, October 5th against Rider University at Yogi Berra Stadium.
It is important to clarify that club sports management at Montclair State University is primarily split up between two organizations: The Campus Recreation Center and the Student Government Association (SGA). To further complicate the dynamic between groups, there are also club sports that like to operate more independently, an example being the MSU Ice Hockey Team. Often times both organizations have teams that will come and go, which is usually determined by the amount of management that particular club sport has internally that season.
I speculate that students tend to have misconceptions regarding club sports at Montclair State University, which stem from regarding club sports as one of Montclair State’s bona fide athletic departments. To all those that are skeptical: any student can play club sports. Not only can students play, but they also have the opportunity to create a club sport if it is not currently offered at the University. If you are interested in signing up for a club sport this year, or if you would like to find out more information on how to start you own sports club, you can visit the Recreation Center’s Club Sports website at http://www.montclair.edu/campusrec/club_sports/, or you can call 973-655-3346. You may also contact Carolyn Garrone, Program Coordinator of Intramural and Club Sports at 973-655-4041 for more information.