November 4th, 2014
It’s seven in the morning and I’ve already driven a twelve passenger van through the streets of D.C. while wearing a ballgown and at least a quarter cup of hair gel. Welcome to collegiate ballroom dance, the only sport club at William and Mary that regularly practices in high heels and glitter. For us, fall competition weekend means driving up to the University of Maryland for two straight days of dancing, music, and desperately trying to avoid stepping on our partners’ feet. We may not look as rugged as soccer or rugby, but we’re certainly as intense.
At the same time we’re dancing the tango, over ten other William and Mary sport clubs are scattered across the east coast preparing for their own games and competitions. Having been both a sport club supervisor and a sport club officer, I’ve gotten a unique perspective into just how much work goes into ensuring all these clubs get where they need to go. When we have as many as eighteen clubs leaving campus each week, it takes a huge cooperative effort between campus recreation and the clubs themselves to get everyone moving.
Before the trip, sport club officers have gathered lists of participants, organized vehicles and lodging, planned budgets, and submitted registration paperwork, among a multitude of other things. All this paperwork is then reviewed by the sport club office. Waivers and driver authorizations are checked, vans are assigned, emails are sent, rosters and budgets are verified. Club members familiarize themselves with emergency protocols and re-stock first aid kits, preparing everyone for a safe and organized trip. It’s a lot of work – but it’s definitely worth it! For ballroom, competition weekend is a great club bonding experience, not to mention giving us the chance to meet dancers from other schools. At our competition this past weekend, I was really pleased to see so many of our newcomers reaching out to talk to people at other schools.
The competition this past weekend was one of our best yet, with more of our members getting ribbons than in any year I can remember. This will also be our biggest competition of the year, and club members more than rose to meet the challenge. We had one of our newcomer –level partnerships get third place (out of more than 60!) dancing cha-cha, three of our bronze partnerships got ribbons in their dances, our gold-level partnership got third place for all their rhythm style dances, and all of our latin style dancers progressed at least to semi-finals. Plus, everyone in the club got at least one callback to progress towards finals, which is awesome. More importantly, newcomers and returners alike had a great time dancing the weekend away. And there was not a single costume malfunction.
If you haven’t tried out a sport club here at W&M, I highly recommend you do so. We literally have a club for everybody, whether lacrosse or table tennis or ballroom dance is more your style. And if you do end up traveling with your club, be sure to thank your sport club officers and fill out any paperwork they need – they’ve put a lot of work into making your trip possible!