Print Edition: March 18, 2015
You stumble out of AfterMath, your head buzzing with din and drink, and you hear something. Is that human activity in building E — and outside of the pub? You walk towards the sounds, and you soon find yourself in the North Gym. There are people playing pickleball, and they invite you to join. You don’t know what pickleball is, but you shrug and pick up a paddle.
And within 15 minutes you’re playing an intense doubles match with some new friends.
For the duration of the semester, UFV campus recreation is hosting free drop-in sports events, open to all UFV students, faculty, staff, and alumni. Usually, gym facilities require you to have a Student Activity Centre membership, but all you need for the drop-ins is your student card.
“It’s fun, and it’s a good way to learn new sports,” said Joel Duclos, a kinesiology student taking his practicum with campus rec. And he’s right; not to brag or anything, but I kicked butt in the second round of doubles. The first round, not so much. You can’t be awesome at everything — at least, not right away.
You might have seen Duclos handing out flyers, answering questions, and promoting the campus recreation Facebook page in front of the Abbotsford campus’ Tim Hortons. “We’re trying to get as many people in there as we can, so we can get events going,” he explained.
There have been a few drop-in events this semester, and some of them have been pretty successful, according to Duclos. Valentine’s Day saw campus rec hosting a public ball hockey tournament in Chilliwack, and people of all skills and ages came from as far out as Mission to play. “That was a big success,” Duclos said. “We had about 20 teams.”
He also said campus rec would like to have more events that involve not just the university, but the communities that surround it. The ball-hockey tournament was a step in the right direction, and its turnout shows promise.
Brett MacNab, who helps out with the drop-ins, was at the pickleball game the evening I stopped by.
“Pickleball is a favourite of mine,” he said later in an email correspondence, “although not many people know about it, or how fun it can actually be.”
MacNab has been involved with campus rec since 2012, his first year at UFV. Since then, he’s seen the popularity of certain drop-in sports ebb and flow.
“Successful drop-ins require a group of students who are dedicated to showing up weekly,” he noted. On the topic of getting different drop-in events started, he said that “if the will of the students is behind an idea, it can happen. In fact, it only really takes one passionate person to make an event happen.” When asked what he’d like to see, he had two ideas: revive the dodgeball drop-ins, and bring in dance.
Campus rec will be holding tournaments for all the remaining Saturdays of March. In the meantime, the drop-ins will serve as training sessions for those hell-bent on winning those tournaments. Or perhaps they’ll just be a cool place to meet people and work out the stresses of academia.