The path from Merrill to commons seldom remains empty; and throughout the day, even during the late hours of the evening, the path is full of cheerful Batesies hauling various sports bags and athletic equipment back to their dorms. Somewhere amidst all the sticky bustle lies the beauty of college sports: the fact that different levels of competition (varsity, club, and intramural) allow anyone to compete.

But while some of these levels require certain skill and commitment, all produce similar benefits for the student participating. Bates college is no exception to this, in recent years, club and intramural sport participation at Bates has sprouted, with the involvement of over 60% of Bates students in club and IM sports.

Club and varsity sports, respectively, have huge benefits for students. For many students who may be bored of the treadmill or who perhaps lack the motivation to go to the gym at all may find playing a club sport an easy cure to their workout blues. By focusing on the competition at hand, instead of the tortuous “calories burned” meter on that elliptical, students are able to attend fast-paced practices that help them stay healthy and have fun.

Research done by the New York Times suggests that playing a sport helps reduce stress, for sometimes all it takes is getting active to get rid of that writer’s block or re-energize yourself for a night of note-taking. Additionally, playing a sport teaches valuable time management skills that allow you to make the most of those blocks set aside for strictly studying. With all of this information in mind, it is not surprising to find flourishing club sports and intramural teams at Bates. This year, there have been additional club sport opportunities added, particularly exciting is the creation of the Bates Women’s Club Lacrosse Team.

Although the Bates Women’s Club Lacrosse team was established in the 2014-2015 academic year, it slowly lost momentum and the team never actually got around to playing a full game. This year, however, under the leadership of Brie Wilson 18’, the Bates Women’s Lacrosse Team is briskly gaining momentum, with the participation of over 10 ladies.

Although lacrosse is typically a spring sport, the team has already committed to practicing this fall. “Although we have made it clear that there is no pressure in attending our Thursday and Sunday practices, there have consistently been about 10-15 girls who have shown up,” Wilson excitedly relayed. “That is the beauty of club sports,” she goes on to say. “You can be involved in the sport but still have time for other interests and academics as well that perhaps are not possible with a varsity sport.” This is a form of college athletics without the pageantry or prerogative, and that’s the way athletes, like Brie Wilson, in club sports like it. They devise the practices, make the team rules, decide whom to play and when, budget the money for uniforms and game officials, schedule the hotel and travel arrangements and manage the paperwork.

Joining the team is easy and all levels of fitness and lacrosse experience are welcomed and encouraged. “Some girls who come to practice have never picked up a stick, others played on travel and varsity teams in high school. The diversity is awesome!,” Wilson contends. Interested in learning more about club lacrosse? Contact Brie Wilson at bwilson@bates.edu.