Whitefield Academy Blog
Unconventional Sports for Athletes
While walking to the dining hall in college, a car full of rowers drove by me, noticed I was short and asked if I would like to be a coxswain (the smaller person who sits in the boat and yells at the rowers). I had just realized that my plan to be an actress in the theatre department wasn’t coming up roses, and I had some time on my hands, so I said, “Sure!” Thus beginning a five season long career of being the Mens Varsity A coxswain in a sport that I hadn’t previously known even existed.
We’ve touted the merits of being involved in sports: learning humility, being active, and so on, but what if you just don’t like sports? I’m still made fun of by my family for picking clover in the outfield during my short stint on the elementary softball team. Some of us just aren’t big fans of soccer, football, and track, so we are shuffled off elsewhere. But big news! This is a huge variety of sports out there, like crew, that might actually appeal to the “non-athlete.”
Do you feel like you were born in the wrong era? Was your favorite toy your Play Mobil knight set? Then fencing might be for you! The Kansas City Fencing Center offers a variety of options from beginner classes to private lessons and summer camps. This would be a good option if you have a lot of enemies…kidding, kidding.
Ever heard of it? It’s apparently the fastest growing sport in the United States! It’s kind of like a cross between ping pong, tennis, and badminton. There is even a space downtown called Chicken N Pickel where you can take lessons, join a league, and eat chicken in the rooftop restaurant! And if you find that you aren’t the next pickelball champion, they have bocce ball and cornhole as well!
Lord of the Rings fans in your house? How about Hunger Games? Archery has never been more popular than it is today (other than when people actually HAD to know how to shoot arrows in order to eat). Christ, Bows, Arrows & Youth is a local archery group that provides camps and classes for all ages.
I will preface this one by saying that Water Polo sounds like my worst nightmare: throwing a ball while trying to avoid being dunked under water? No thanks! But hey, if you want to get a scholarship to a college or university in California, then Water Polo is the way to go! Youth teams are harder to come by than some other sports in Kansas City, but there is high school age club that meets in Lee’s Summit.
Fall? Preppy jackets? Watching the sunrise on the water? Age old rivalries between Oxford and Cambridge? Throwing the coxswain in the river after a win? Delightful! Rowing is basically the greatest sport known to man, not that I’m partial. As I mentioned before, rowing certainlty is a great sport for athletes, but it’s also a great sport for non-athletes. Coxswains steer the boats, run practices, give commands, and coordinate race plans. A great way to get all the benefits of being on a team without having to run fast or jump high. Kansas City has a rowing club for ages 14+ that meets on Wyandotte County Lake.
Don’t be tempted by saying, “Sports aren’t my thing!” It’s possible that you just haven’t found the right one. Ping pong, rugby, competitive dance, cricket, shooting, and sailing are just the beginning of a long list of fun, alternative sports that might surprise you. Most organizations around town offer 4-8 week long camps in the fall, spring, and summer months. Look around and try something new!