Many college students reminisce about their high school exploits on the sports field. An amazing catch in the outfield, a perfect jump shot to win the game, making the playoffs in the high school hockey league. But of all things, the most prominent memories are those made on the high school grid iron. Many of these experiences are left to faint recollection as students move on to college, where competition is fierce to earn a spot on the squad. Some universities don’t have varsity teams at all. However, there are those who find a place to play at their school, merely for the love of the game. It’s called club football, and for Sophomore Matthew Rainey it’s his way of continuing his high school passion. Far from all the pressures and politics of Division 1 athletics, right here at Marquette, a young group of students come together a few times a week and perfect their game, testing their mettle against their peers here. The goal? Saturday’s game.
For Rainey, it’s all about the love of the game, “I like the camaraderie, and the chance to continue to play the sport I love. I didn’t think I’d get the chance to play football again after high school, I thought it was over. This gives me the chance to continue to play football, and that’s a great feeling.” “The great thing about football is that it’s really a team sport. When one person fails the team fails. If I look over and the guy next to me is struggling, I’m struggling too. You really learn to rely on each other and build that brotherhood.” The team doesn’t just stop at the field either. “We go hang out on the weekends, and everyone of us is a student here,” says Gorham. The best part for some is the relaxed atmosphere. Most players like that they only have to practice twice a week and still get the college experience, while playing football without all the politics.
So, who does our club team play? What’s the season like? The Golden Eagles start practice in August as the school year begins. They practice every day for about two to three weeks to develop cohesion and have a solid base to work from. This also helps knock off the dust and get everyone back in shape for the season. As the school year starts the team scales it back to two days a week to ensure that no one’s studies suffer. Game days vary between Saturday and Sunday depending on the match up that week. Generally when they play Division 3 schools the game is typically Saturday. For conference games against other club teams the games are usually on Sunday. The season spans eight games during the fall semester. The team battles other clubs like Miami Ohio, University of Wisconsin Milwaukee, and SIU Edwardsville, as well as Division 3 teams like Concordia of Wisconsin and UW Parkside.
Marquette’s Club also plays a short spring season. “The spring is more or less for recruiting purposes and to dust off our game. We get out there and hit some people. It’s a chance to develop our offense with our new players and really a great time to have some fun,” Rainey says. This year the team will cap their spring season with a scrimmage against University of Wisconsin-Parkside.
With recent rumors circulating about the possibility of a D1 football team Gorham doesn’t seem worried that it will affect the club negatively. “The great part about club football is that it’s for the love of the game, the guys we play with now could have easily played on a D3 team no problem and maybe even on a D1 squad. We love football, and we chose to take on the academic challenge at Marquette. It would be cool to have a D1 team but I don’t think that it would detract from the club at all.”
So…where do I sign up? Marquette Club football maintains a web site at www.marquetteclubfootball.com. Here, interested students can find rosters, practice schedules and contact information for players and the officers of the club. If you have any questions about joining, dues, or anything else you can also send an email to [email protected] and an officer will respond as quickly as possible. Even easier, show up to a practice and talk to one of the staff. Have a friend on the team…that works too. If you love football, then this is the place to play.
by Joe Defelice
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