While Cornell’s varsity sports receive the majority of the recognition, the press and the adulation, there is a another athletic community on East Hill that thrives only through its own blood, sweat and tears: club sports. In this three-part series, The Sun will chronicle just what goes on in the world of club sports. Today’s first installment tells the story of how club sports come to life.
Imagine coming to Cornell — a school with over 13,000 students, 34 varsity sports and over 500 student organizations — and not finding the one activity that interests you most.
When current sophomore Adrian Repic arrived on East Hill, he looked forward to joining a roller hockey league. He played in his hometown near Morristown, N.J., but surprisingly Cornell was void of a roller hockey team, club or organization.
Rather than mope, Repic decided to build a club devoted to the sport from scratch. “I searched for organizations and asked people who played hockey what there was [for roller hockey], and everyone said nothing. So I decided to organize something on my own.
“It was really easy to do. I just said that I wanted a roller hockey club and [the Student Activities Organization] handed me the forms,” Repic continued.
Repic confirmed his suspicions that Cornell had no roller hockey organization. So last fall, he took the initiative to register the newest addition to the sports clubs at Cornell.
“I met with a couple of the student organization people and they set me up with all the forms I needed to register a sports club,” he explained.
The club needed to complete an organization registration form that requires names of the club’s officers, a purpose, the advisor’s name and other general information. The contracted independent organization form outlines the club’s relationship with the university. Finally each club must submit a constitution stating its bylaws.
In addition, Repic had to fill out a Sports Club Addendum which mostly concerns itself with liability in the case of injury.
Repic still hasn’t turned in his constitution.
“I don’t know if I turned in one of the extra forms, so I don’t know if we are an official club yet,” he said, continuing, “but we’re on the website.”
Each club sport must dub an advisor, and recently, the instructor for the physical education classes in hockey, Gary Brandt, became advisor to the fledgling roller hockey organization.
“He keeps aware of what’s going on in the club so that it doesn’t atrophy into doing nothing,” explained Repic of Brandt’s function.
Another thing that the roller hockey team lacks is funding. But Repic is pretty sure that he’ll be able to get the money he needs if and when he applies for money from the University.
“Basically I expected it to take one or two years to gather enough people to get interested. Next year I think I’ll ask the [members] if they’re interested in intercollegiate play. Then I’ll go and apply for funding,” Repic explained.
Right now Repic has a listserve with over 100 names that he e-mails scheduled dates to play, but usually about ten people show up at each meeting. Although it’s a low percentage turnout, there is only room for about 10 hockey players on the makeshift courts.
Most of his recruits have come from the already large hockey contingent at Cornell.
“I recruited a lot of people from [the intermediate hockey class],” Repic said. “I contacted the club hockey team, and other than that it’s been word of mouth. So far I haven’t had to put up posters.”
Finding a venue to host practices has been the largest obstacle for the team. For now, the club meets biweekly, usually Friday and Saturday afternoons on the tennis courts on North Campus. Repic waits in line for the courts to clear off. He has to dismantle the nets and suffer the sneers from tennis enthusiasts.
“I received permission from one of the associate deans to use the tennis courts, but people still come and object. I don’t understand why,” Repic bemoaned.
The University does not provide a roller hockey court for the independent club sport. Repic and vice president junior Bob Stevens are looking into playing on an iceless surface in Lynah. Figuring that people can rent ice time, the roller hockey club hopes that it will be able to reserve the smooth surface and avoid the cramped, subpar conditions of the tennis courts.
Of course renting requires money that the club does not necessarily have. Repic is fairly confident that the members would contribute to the relatively small fees.
“I think that if there were a lot of people, we could pay out of our pockets,” Repic suggested.
Although Repic is committed to the construction of a roller hockey court on campus, he has met only resistance from Cornell.
“It seems like everyone you go to for help in the administration says, ‘I understand, I’d like to help you, why don’t you talk to these other people,”‘ Repic said explaining how his plans for a playing surface were passed around the faculty. “It’s definitely hard to get things from the administration.”
Nevertheless, Repic and Stevens have gotten a lot of headway in ensuring the future of the club.
“One of these days, we’ll hopefully be able to compete in the college league,” Repic said, citing that as soon as next year his club might be able to join. He feels that his goal can be realized before he graduates in 2003.
In order to do that, though, he must be prepared to pay about $2000 to join an intercollegiate league, not to mention money for equipment and travel expenses.
Next he must develop a roster, which unfortunately will limit the size of the team, but Repic hopes that competition would bring a greater draw to his club. He is in contact with other similar teams in the area.
“There is a western New York league. I know that Buffalo and SUNY-Binghamton have roller hockey teams,” he informed.
But as the first year of the roller hockey team comes to a close, both president and vice president are satisfied with the progress they have made. They have laid a foundation for a coherent team, but more importantly, they are providing themselves an opportunity to play a sport that they love, while exposing it to the Cornell community.
“This is basically me saying there was no [roller hockey] and wanting to do something, and knowing just barely enough to do it on my own,” Repic admitted, adding, “It’s worth it.”
Archived article by Amanda Angel