Club sports give students the chance to keep on playing.
by Adam Kelley '16 Photos by Glen E. Ellman
Out of respect for the Frog, TCU club hockey players won't let their jerseys touch the floor.
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by Adam Kelley '16
Photos by Glen E. Ellman
Thomas Scoggin and Brett Jacobson have played ice hockey since they were in elementary school. Both played the sport in high school and at the junior level and thought their careers were over when they reached college.
To their surprise and elation, they learned TCU had a two-year-old club program and could skate wearing Horned Frog purple and white.
“For most guys, once you stop playing, you’re only in beer leagues. To get to do this in college and represent the school you love means a whole lot,” said Jacobson, a junior criminal justice major.
Their love of school and of the sport intersects, and it is reflected in how TCU Ice Hockey functions.
“We have a rule that our jerseys never touch the floor,” said Scoggin, a junior marketing major. “It’s an honor to wear the frog on our chest. We’re not just representing ourselves, but we’re representing our fellow students and the school name. It makes me really proud.”
The team is coming off of its most successful season, sporting a 10-9 winning record for the first time last season. Home games are played at the NYTEX Centre in North Richland Hills and are free for all students. (It’s $5 general admission for everyone else.) The 2016-2017 season begins in September.
TCU Ice Hockey is one of 23 club sports at TCU. There are no scholarships or funds for travel. But there is an abundance of passion. Each sport is organized and run by student participants and registered through TCU Campus Recreation. Sports such as volleyball have been around for years. Others, such as Bass and Fly Fishing, are only a few months old. Soccer has dozens of members. Golf has 10.
Experience is absolutely necessary. Unlike the Ice Hockey team, most of the members of the Club Polo team have never played the sport.
“It’s a new sport for a lot of people,” said junior club president Katie Phillips, a communication studies major. “Most join our club having previous riding experience, but have never actually played polo before, which was my case.”
Phillips started riding at age 5 and began competing at 7. She said she’s always loved horses, but obviously, she was unable to bring her own to Fort Worth from her native California.
“And that’s a similar story for a lot of girls on the team,” Phillips said. “They couldn’t bring their horses to college, but they want to find a way to continue to ride.”
Club Polo provides that opportunity. It is one of just five programs in Texas and 31 women’s teams in the nation.
Coach Vaughn Miller owns all of the horses and equipment (except mallets) the team uses. Most of the team dues go directly to equipment maintenance and animal upkeep.
It’s been one of the harder things I’ve ever done, starting a club at TCU, but it’s been a blast.”Alexis Schrepple, yoga club president
This past season, the club fielded its first men’s team since 2011. Thirteen students make up the women’s team, which made the Central Region Finals in the 2016 USPA Intercollegiate tournament.
Both teams meet every Sunday morning at Prestonwood Polo Country Club for practice. “Anyone who loves horses can join. No experience necessary,” Phillips said.
Not all club sports at TCU are based in competition. The club yoga team’s focus is on having fun and getting a good workout.
Though not technically a “sport,” yoga hosts a monthly event open to all students on campus to bring in new participants. Helping students deal with the everyday stress of university life is a powerful hook.
“It’s cheap, easy, fun, and a good workout,” said club president and founding member Alexis Schrepple, a graphic design major. “We do a little bit of everything. And it’s a very inclusive group.”
Schrepple founded the club in 2014. It started as an idea among her friends who had gone together to free weekly yoga classes at Lululemon.
“That was like a yoga club all on its own,” Schrepple said. “So eventually we said, ‘Let’s start one on campus.’ And here we are now.”
The group meets weekly and had a record 175 members in Fall 2015. Like polo, the yoga club encourages anyone with a passion — experienced or not — to join. Members even get a frocket shirt when they sign up. It costs $20 per semester.
“It’s been one of the harder things I’ve ever done, starting a club at TCU,” said Schrepple. “But it’s been a blast.”
Another club sport that’s brand new to TCU is climbing. The sport officially began in Fall 2015 and has been growing steadily ever since.
“We started with four to six regulars, and we wanted to get more,” said senior president Martin McQueen, an environmental science major. “Now we’re up to about 25 or 30.”
“We’re trying to create a climbing scene on campus — almost a culture,” said senior vice president Joel Watts, a sociology major.
Like the other sports, there are no experts. The club encourages climbers of all levels. The club further strives to “promote group climbing; increase technique and strength, and promote individual and team development through competition.”
“I like climbing because I like going to remote places and connecting with nature,” said McQueen. “It’s a sport that is truly individual. You really have to depend on yourself.”
The club holds weekly meetings on Wednesday nights at the 30-foot rock wall in the University Recreation Center. Competitions are held periodically at indoor walls around the Fort Worth-Dallas area.
Ice Hockey has its own mission beyond the sport itself. In Fall 2015, the team raised 700 dollars for the Susan G. Komen Foundation from its “Pink the Rink” game.
“I feel like we’re building something,” Jacobson said. “With the charity games and apparel sales, it’s astounding how far we’ve come. I get emails daily asking how to buy a jersey. I want to see it progress into something more.”
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