When watching sports, most of us limit ourselves to the “major” or “revenue” sports of football and basketball, particularly at the collegiate level. That is perfectly understandable as those are the sports Americans love most, and certainly fill the coffers of most universities. I can’t speak for all Jayhawk fans, but personally I root for KU regardless of the event. It would not matter it if were horse shoes, debate, spitting, tug-o-war, or Frisbee golf; if there is a Jayhawk in the fight, I am rooting for them.
Countless stories are written about football and basketball players who face difficult life challenges, struggle through school just to play, and devote blood, sweat, and tears, into their sport. While these stories should be told, the truth is athletes playing money sports have every advantage. Come to Kansas on a scholarship, and one will receive the finest meals, medical attention, tutoring, and celebrity anybody could ever imagine.
With that in mind, there is large group of largely unheralded athletes, who not only deserve recognition, but the admiration of fans, and the attention of those in charge of budgets in the Athletic Department. There are a host of Club Teams at Kansas who work as hard as any athletes under Charlie Weis or Bill Self.
For example, there is an outstanding Hockey program at Kansas that almost nobody knows or talks about, which is a shame, because hockey is a great sport to watch live. There is racquetball, lacrosse, martial arts, fencing, and a host of other sports that are highly entertaining to watch, and for the fan without deep pockets you can watch almost all of these sports for free!
Many Kansas fans might be surprised to learn there is even a Women’ Rugby Team, and these girls can play! Without all of the support and fanfare these young ladies play one of the most rugged and demanding sports imaginable. Rugby is not for the faint of heart, and playing can make even the hardiest of athletes think twice about taking the field.
The players support themselves and their club financially, which includes the necessities that revenue sport athletes take for granted. Meals, training, traveling, lodging, medical expenses, and equipment are largely paid for out of the pockets of the athletes. It does make one wonder how dedicated basketball and football players would be if they had to play largely for “the love of the game” as these young ladies clearly do.
Many continue to play for teams such as the KC Jazz, which has been an official USA Rugby team since 1994. Rugby is one of the fastest growing sports in America so maybe in time Rugby, as well as other club sports at Kansas, will be more appreciated and recognized.
For a complete list of all the different clubs that exist at Kansas, click this link. Each sports club provides an email address so you can inquire about schedules.