Vermont Club Sports Blog

November 19, 2009

All for one, and one for all.

Filed under: Uncategorized — leonuvm @ 8:07 pm

One of our initiatives over the past couple of semesters has been to establish a Club Sports Council.  As we near 50 organizations and now encompass nearly 15% of students on campus we are large entity, but have a very small voice.  Additionally, many of our clubs face the same challenges year and and year out.

In response to this we have created our Council with the mission of empowering Club Sports with a unified voice, creating initiatives that address our issues, and providing a network for our clubs to access.

Admittedly, this is really in the beginning phases of its development but it has been nice to see our leaders already starting to think more about their situations and place in the UVM community and hopefully sometime next year I will be able to post a blog entry about all of our tremendous successes.

At the heart of our clubs is the concept of student driven initiatives and leadership.  Hopefully this council will emerge as a prime example of that.

So a cool video, not in the slightest bit related, but go Dr. Teeth…..

Youtube channel updated

Filed under: Uncategorized — leonuvm @ 7:49 pm

Check out the new videos:

http://www.youtube.com/user/UVMClubSports

November 13, 2009

From the streets to a racquetball court near you

Filed under: Uncategorized — leonuvm @ 7:47 pm

Last night I visited one of our newest clubs, the racquetball club, who get together a couple evenings a week to hit the big blue (or green) ball.  Now for those of you who did not know I am quite the accomplished handball player of the New York Variety.  Games between myself and arch rival, Cristian Rolando Allegre Ortega, are still the stuff of legends on the concrete courts of Long Beach High School and the Monroe Courts.  While Cris is forgetful in his old age, and might tell you otherwise, my adeptness at getting rollers and placing the ball in a manner that to hit it back meant cutting your head on a rusty fence was no match for his cut shot and willingness to dive on the cement.  Street games in general have dominated the NYC landscape with handball being so popular that every town in metro area has park space dedicated to it.  Check out this documentary trailer from some of NYCs most famous on street games:

Racquetball is much like handball except with four walls, a cieling, and of course racquets.  Its simplicity at heart – you only need a aracquet and a ball – make it the closest thing to a street game for college students across the country.  Current Racquetball President, and former Student Government Association President, Jay Taylor’s passion for the sport sprung from his participation in the PE class taught by the legendary and always prepared with lollipops Paul Reinhart.  Jay, seeking an opportunity to improve and find games started the club which has two main compnenents – a recreational side to set up games between students and learn the sport; and a competitve squad where UVM’s best ballers represent the Catamounts in the Eastern Collegiate Racquetball Association.

Jay and I battled yesterday for three games that pitted my passing shots against his aggresive and very quick play.  The games were pretty intense and eneded up a draw as Jay had to hurry to one of his other campus engagements.  A racquetball court may not seem like much, but amidst the all the chaos, you work up an excellent physical and mental sweat!  A perfect reprieve from the daily grind at UVM.

The club next travels to New Jersey for their second competition of the year and of course will be on the courts leanring and honing their game weeknights in the PFG complex.

Fortunately this clip below did not happen to either of us but something about it just makes you smile:

 

November 11, 2009

Flying around on a swiffer

Filed under: Uncategorized — leonuvm @ 12:07 am

If there is one things that UVM students posess, besides style of course, is imagination and creativity.  Quiditch is a prime example of that and I took turns flying around on a swiffer this past weekend along with the prospective UVM Quidditch team who have already participated in International competition that being last months World Cup of Quidditch which took place at nearby Middlebury college.

What is Quidditch you ask?  Well, frankly there is no good explanation but it is truly a chaotic event with basically 3 sports rolled into one.  Those sports are Team handball, with several team members trying to toss a volleyball through three hoops;  Dodgeball, with a couple of team members playing defence by throwing dodgeballs at the opposing team; and some rugby because what fun is a sport without tackling.

Being new to the sport, and a bit of a slob, I had no broom so I borrowed a metal swiffer from one of the team members.  I am pretty poor runner and apparently an even worse flyer as keeping the swiffer between my legs was more than challenging…and perhaps even a little painful.  I did have one glorious moment where I took the quaffle (the volleyball) end to end narrowly avoiding a bludger (the dodgeball) with a quick little spin jump, and darted toward the net where I was tackled to the ground.  Miraculously, I got the shot toward the hoop where it sailed on target…and then it got blocked!

Oh well, the 20 students present on Redstone Green this past weekend were a testament to the ingenuity of UVM students and further proof that organized chaos is just flat out fun!

As the sport grows as the Harry Potter generation fully matriculates, the International Quidditch Association with the afformentioned Middlebury at its center, is gaining teams from all over North America.  Check it out on facebook:

http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#/group.php?gid=2220478706&ref=nf

or the official website:  http://collegequidditch.com/

Coming up on the docket:  UVM’s Freestyle Ski team vs. The Snowboard team in an ‘epic’ dodgeball game.  Rumor is winning team gets dibs on first tracks.

November 9, 2009

Because its getting cold out and this is just hilarious….”Clark the Hockey Goalie”

Filed under: Uncategorized — leonuvm @ 7:43 pm

The best and funniest way to waste the next 6 minutes and 6 seconds of your life:

one, two, three the monkey’s got a hockey stick….

Filed under: Uncategorized — leonuvm @ 6:35 pm

Last Thursday I had the pleasure to visit the UVM Men’s Club Hockey team who had a rare on campus practice.  UVM is a great school with many resources and facilities but the inevitability of being a good size school is there is a large demand for things like books, class registration, and of course using facilities like the rink.  Thankfully, Burlington is a vibrant community with tons of places not too far from campus to meet Club Sports needs and of course those of greater Burlington residents.

On this night, though, I got to skate at the Gut and once again work with the team’s goaltenders.  I was relatively nice to them but they were hard workers and I like forward to pushing them again at some time in the future.  I also got to jump into a little three on three where puck possesion with my linemates, ala the Detroit Red Wings, proved to be a great strategy!  Undoubtedly, this practice led to my two goals (and two posts…one more bar and I would have won three bar) performance in adult league last night.

Two thing the club hockey team provides for its players is a great balance and a lot of camaraderie.  It was apparent from the moment I stepped on the ice that everyone got along really well and they were as excited to be spending time with each other as they were to be playing hockey, a point that was emphasized when in the locker room.  Now back to that whole balance thing, this is one of the toughest things for college students with academics, work, and all kinds of other temptations and new experiences.  While the hockey club does a fair bit of traveling they are also very conscious of those other things, especially academics and this is evident as the team only on rare occasions has students in jeoparady of academic probation and has many students who have received accolades for their academic (and other extra-curricular) success.

So why the monkey reference in the title?  Well, for two reasons:

1.  I am very disheartened that the Evil Monkey in family guy is no longer evil, he was my favorite character!

2.  There are many great hockey songs out there, such as “the good ole hockey game” and “I wanna ride the zamboni” but my favorite is the one below courtesy of the Zambonis, a touring band whose wardrobe and every song, is hockey!  The song was also, the theme song for a show called “The Loop” which before cancellation, I thought was hilarious.  Clearly I have odd taste, because just like “The Loop” most shows I think are awesome go the same root, quickly canceled.

November 4, 2009

A sword to the face

Filed under: Uncategorized — leonuvm @ 3:08 am

Continuing with the theme of getting hit in the face with blunt objects, I took another leap into the dangerous world that are UVM Club Sports.  It all started out pretty ok with a pre-club sports visit to the Tennis Courts.  Expecting a nice round of hitting around with a buddy we were promplty challenged by a couple of Intermural tennis players.  Needing to defend our honor we accepted the challenge….we lost 6-0!

Thoroughly embarrassed, I wandered up the stairs to check out the Catamount Dance Crew as they learned a new routine and practiced some old ones.   As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words, so I suppose these several videos at the link below speak volumes.

http://www.youtube.com/user/heartofaces28#p/a/u/2/K4Ht7vX0Ku0

Led by Senior “Ace”, the CDC has already had several performances this year and should draw their usual massive crowd for their showcase come spring time.  The music choices and the enthusiasm of the dancers definitely gets the adrenaline pumping.  It reminded me of the golory days in TO with my dance crew, The Rexdalians.  I miss you Ted Woodland, the Republic dance floor will never be the same!

Next was Salle Catamount, the UVM Fencing club who were preparing for the second tournament of the semester and their first large scale collegiate competition.  Under the guidance of Joanna Flynn, I learned some of the basic footwork associated with fencing.  I think I did quite well at this…and then they put the sword in my hand.  The feet and hands were not exactly on the same page but I did learn some parries and thrusts.  I have always wondered what it was like to get hit with a fencing sword and it kind of stings.  My teacher Joanna assured me she doesn’t really feel it anymore which leads me to the conclusion that she is way tougher than me.  I had the opportunity to try all three major weapons, the foil, epee, and Sabre.  My favorite was clearly the sabre; why you might ask?  Because you get to bop people on the head with it!  There is just something hilarious about watching someone get bopped on the head, see exhibit A, Wiley Coyote:

After my quick tutorial, I was ready to challenge Keegan in a sword fight.  We saluted, got set, and began our duel.  After a parry and a thrust I managed to score first.  This was mainly because Keegan, who is right handed, was using his left hand to fence.  We had two solid matches but Keegan managed to squeak at 5-4 victories on both occasions.  One thing Keegan mentioned a little while back though, is that Fencing is an art form.  This is very true and was evident watching the practice.  I fear that my performance was perhaps the abstract art version of the form.

Fencing is an ancient and very cool sport.  Check out this video from the 19th century

October 30, 2009

a hula hoop to the face

Filed under: Uncategorized — leonuvm @ 9:45 pm

When talking about all of our great dance groups I was terrible amiss in leaving out Hula Hoop Dancing.  One of our younger clubs, hula hoop dancing, or “hooping” as it is known on the streets as a discipline can be traced to ancient times but the current version is merely a decade old.  Hoopers and Hooping can be seen at international music events like burning man, Central PArk (right next to the roller skate dancers) and of course on UVMs campus.

The club led by Instructors Julia Helmes and Gary Johnson practice for fitness and fun as well as the opportunity to perform in several performances throughout the year!  I jumped in and tried to keep up with the hoopers as they worked through their routine but the only thing I really accomplished was finding ways to hit myself in the head and other parts of the body not to be discussed in this forum.  And I assure you, the hoops that hoopers used are significantly more heavy duty then those little plastic things from back on the day.  Nonetheless, at the encouragment of the club, I preserved and learned some new tricks like the helicopter, around the world, and I even managed to get the hoop to go around my body a few times, further proof that it really is, “all in the hips.”

This is what I looked like trying to hoop it up:

Now check out what our UVM Hoop Dancers look like – this was taken at last spring’s Orchesis Dance Performance,very cool stuff:

This weekend I’m off to a Crew Race followed by another week of hijinx and adventures, see you there!

 

 

October 28, 2009

Step, two, three, four

Filed under: Uncategorized — leonuvm @ 7:11 pm

Amongst our many clubs are a slew of dance groups.  One area that our Club Sports program is particularly proud of is our variety of options and our dance crews are a primary example of that.  We currently have 5 recognized dance groups with a 6th currently seeking formal recognition from the Student Government.

The groups in no particular order are:  Salsa and Swing Society, UVM Dance Team, Catamount Dance Crew, Orchesis Dance Company, and Urban Flava (to be talked about later), and the prospective organization is the Celtic Cats and Irish dance group.

Being a nerdy history major what fascinates me most is the origin of these groups and their disciplines.  Salsa, has spanish roots and another portion of the club focuses on ballroom dancing, which has its roots traced as far back as 16th Century France.  the UVM Dance team is a more modern creation that combines elements of cheerleading often seen at Athletic events like NFL and NBA games.  The Catamount Dance Crew incorporates some of the entertainment aspects of the previous group but really strives to infuse elements of Hip-Hop and Jazz dance and emulates the styles of the show, “America’s Best Dance Crew”.  Orchesis Dance Company spawned from an academically sponsored dance program that once existed on campus and while there style would likely be described as modern, much of their membership has significant ballet backgrounds.  Celtic Cats, likely to be an addition to the club sports world in the not so distant future, follows the discipline its name suggests, Irish.

And now to the group that I visited last night, URban Flava Step Team.  To learn more about this discipline I went straight to the most reliable (and by reliable I mean easy) source, Wikipedia (seriously, what did people do before it).  Here is what I found:

“Stepping or step-dancing is a form of percussive dance in which the participant’s entire body is used as an instrument to produce complex rhythms and sounds through a mixture of footsteps, spoken word, and hand claps. Though stepping may be performed by an individual, it is generally performed by groups of three or more, often in arrangements that resemble military formations.

Stepping may also draw from elements of gymnastics, tap dance, march, or African and Caribbean dance, or include semi-dangerous stunts as a part of individual routines. Some forms of stepping include the use of props, such as canes, rhythm sticks and/or fire and blindfolds.”  In the US step dancing has much of its roots in the African-American community.

The Step Team was really cool to watch as they required little music for their rehearsal, although some was incorporated and they stepped, stomped, and clapped the beats and steps (pun intended) in unison.  I had the opportunity to learn a couple steps (pun again intended) and it went step right, clap the right hip, clap the left hip, step left, repeat!  It was hard but I got the hang of it!  I got great video of the rehearsal and have some of me practicing my moves but an having technical difficulties so those come soon!  In the meantime here is a much more theatrical video of stepping!

Check back later for the ladies on our Urban Flava Step Team’s stepping and my own feeble attempt.  In the meantime, stay classy San Diego.

October 26, 2009

Becoming the next Michael Phelps…minus the sketchy facebook pictures of course

Filed under: Uncategorized — leonuvm @ 8:35 pm

Last Thursday was another gorgeous day in Vermont!  Cold, rain, mist, all of the good things you expect this time of year in Vermont.  But that was no detterent to the Women’s Club Soccer team as President avery Hurst led the bundled up team through practice with a focus on corner kicks.  Not as bundled up as I should have been, I wandered over to RedStone campus to observe.  I had the pleasure of meetings Avery’s dad who in town visiting his daughter, was braving the elements to watch practice.  Avery’s dad was quick to point out how great of expereince his daughter was having with the club and how excited he was that she was meeting so many people and gaining valuable leadership skills.  A well traveled man, he was alsoi poinitng out a couple other great opportunites Avery has had while at UVM including the opportunites to travel to Toronto and Costa Rica as part of school sponsored programs.  After watching the scene below, and a quality chat with a proud parent, I decided it was time to head in for the day.

After a yummy dinner of leftovers my mom had brought up for me (Thanks mom!) it was off to Swim practice.  I will qualify my performance first and foremost that I am more of an ocean swimmer where its about keeping your head up, paddling, and navigating waves.  The relatively stable conditions of the pool were not my element, nor were the butterfly or breast strokes.  With about 35-40 swimmers on a Thursday night the team had members in all the lanes.  I chose the 6th lane, the stroke development lane, where coach Becky taught us some basic skills as well as how to dive off the starting blocks (more on my perfrmance doing this in the video below).  In the other lanes coach Zack put the swimmers through the paces as they prepare for three meets in the next 6 weeks or so!  Swimming was one of the tougher disciplines as I much more accustomed to being a fish out of water as opposed to in it.  However, as you can see below, the coaching and the encouragment of the other swimmers led to some swift improvement!

Me off of the starting blocks!

Me by the end of practice

For those of you unfamiliar with UVMs acaedemic calendar, it is the thick of mid-term season.  With work , outside commitments, and the current world tour I was truly exhausted by the weekend and did very little (I know not much different than usual for me)!  It is impressive to such such good turnouts at our club’s practices as students begin dealing with the busiest time of the young school year!  Way to be student-athletes!

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