By (James Ogletree)

As the leaves around Tuscaloosa start to turn brown and temperatures finally – mercifully – begin to dip, fall club sports are preparing to kick off their seasons as well. It can be an exciting time of the year for athletes on club sports teams, but it also signals the annual arrival of a not-so-exciting prospect: paying club dues.

Julia Becker, president of the women’s ultimate Frisbee club, said paying $50 for the experiences members have in the club is more a bargain than a burden, however.

“I would definitely say that it is [worth the investment],” Becker said. “We travel to a lot of really cool places, we play a really cool sport, and we see a lot of different teams. You get to go to New Orleans on Mardi Gras weekend, you can go to Arkansas or Atlanta or Florida. Fifty dollars, I think, is a really reasonable price to cover all of that.”

Like many other club sports on campus, the club receives funding from University Recreation and The SOURCE to help pay for jerseys, tournament fees, travel costs like gas and hotel rooms, and other expenses.

Becker said the team is fortunate that it only needs to buy new equipment every two or three years, so it seldom affects the budget. Other clubs, like tennis, don’t enjoy the same luxury.

Club tennis president Jared Halstrom said the travel team’s dues, totaling $250, cover the cost of tennis balls, which must be replaced every three weeks, and other equipment. That’s not to mention gas, hotel rooms, water and Gatorade, and entry fees for up to eight tournaments a year.

In addition, the recreation team is considering holding its own tournament in the spring, which would only add to its members’ dues. Halstrom understands the cost can be a significant burden, so the team does its best to be fair and ensure members’ money is put to good use.

“Just because you’re paying this $250 doesn’t necessarily mean you’re going to be able to go to tournaments,” Halstrom said. “I want to have a tournament where we take all the people who haven’t been able to come to tournaments in the past, to make sure the people at the bottom get their money’s worth.”

The boxing club’s $80 dues do not include several required pieces of equipment, including jump ropes, hand wraps and boxing gloves, but members are paying for club membership, a T-shirt and an Alabama Boxing decal.

Club president Nick Meyers said the most valuable part of club, however, is the training that members will receive. He and two other officers have been trained in Birmingham by USA Boxing, so they have extensive knowledge and experience in the sport. They also use actual training methods such as focus mitts and blocking drills to teach members the fundamentals.

Consequently, Meyers believes joining the club is well worth the cost, but said the team is open to members staggering the dues into several payments to make them more affordable.

“If you have to pay half at a certain date and half at another date, we can work with you,” Meyers said. “It’s not really a big deal, because we are excited about the possibility of teaching you about the sport we love.”

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Source:: The Crimson White Sports