An athlete’s perspective on UVic’s sport spectrum

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If you’re a competitive athlete entering school at UVic, or would like to pick up a sport while you are here, there are plenty of sporting options to choose from, from varsity soccer to recreational curling. 

UVic has eight varsity team sports: soccer, basketball, field hockey, track, swimming, rowing, golf and rugby. But these teams don’t represent the entirety of competitive sports at UVic.

UVic also has a wide variety of competitive club sports. These sports offer athletes the chance to train at a high level and compete for their school. If you entered school hoping to make a varsity squad but instead got the red tag, competitive sports clubs can provide the perfect outlet. They can offer the same regimented training schedule and culture that varsity sports do.  Of the 25 club sports offered at UVic, over half provide some degree of competition. Hockey, tennis and lacrosse are just a few of the club sports you can join. Some of these — hockey, most notably — have tryouts to determine who will stay on the club teams.

Before ramping up the competitiveness, most sports clubs offer an introduction to the sport and even basic skills training. This gives athletes time to figure out if they have what it takes. 

The story of sports at UVic runs deeper yet. There is a strong intramural program at UVic. If you have no interest in reppin’ UVic’s gold and blue against other universities, and if playing recreationally against your peers is enough, then intramurals are for you.

The main difference between varsity and club sports is the money. Varsity sports have to bring in revenue to support the university, and in turn, the university supports them. Frankly speaking, most club sports bring in little to no profit and therefore cannot be given varsity status.

That said, UVic can only support so many varsity programs every year. The ones that get to stay are those that fill the seats and have wealthy alumni and/or a storied past. The eight standard varsity programs have proven year after year they can represent the school effectively and bring in enough revenue to warrant varsity status.

The culture of sport is another important aspect to consider when you enter university. For example, maybe you are more of a solo athlete. Team sports have certain traditions that are not seen in individual sports, which is something to think about when looking for an athletic option here at UVic.

I have experience with both Vikes Recreation (which runs intramurals) and a UVic sports club, which has taught me the main differences that separate sports at UVic. The bottom line is that there are many sporting opportunities at UVic, and they should be explored and celebrated.

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