JOURNAL: Continuing the Competition

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Photo by Alex DeBuhr

First-year Payton Marzella plays first base for Marquette’s club softball team.

For students who do not play a Division I sport and want to stay active after high school as they enter college, intramural and club sports serve as an alternative route for them to keep their passion for sports alive.

Although first-years Payton Marzella and Amjed Kabashi and senior Claire Stanley do not play at the Division I level, they have continued to take their individual sports interests to the next level.

Over the fall, Marzella plays first base for Marquette’s club softball team. The club softball season consists of two tournaments in which they won both.

“It’s just been a good opportunity to meet people as well as play the game that I love,” Marzella says.

While Marquette does not have a softball program, Marzella believes that if the university did, some of her teammates would be able to play at the Division I level.

After playing softball for her entire high school career, Marzella says she has seen the variations playing this season at the college level.

“It’s a different experience because in high school, you practice every single day to having games throughout the week and then as we go into club softball at Marquette, we practice once or twice a week and then have tournaments over the weekend, which are very long,” Marzella says.

“No one needs to practice on their skills, individually. It’s almost just like coming together as a team. We don’t have to spend as much time practicing because everyone knows the game and knows how to play,” Marzella says.

Marzella says playing for the team has impacted her Marquette experience overall, as it has given her the opportunity to meet other students with different backgrounds.

Kabashi plays for the Marquette club basketball team and serves as the team’s designated “big man” at 6 feet 6 inches.

He says after only playing basketball one year in high school, he wanted to pursue it at the club level in college.

“Playing for the club basketball team has been a really good experience,” Kabashi says. “I’ve been playing with some nice guys across many different grade levels, freshmen, sophomores, juniors, and seniors because we’ve all been trying just to do our best to put all of our effort in on the court.”

The club basketball teams play in tournaments across several weekends throughout the Midwest. With the season still ongoing, Kabashi says the highlight of his experience has been participating in the practices leading up to the tournaments.

“Connecting with my teammates in preparation for games enhances my experience,” Kabashi says.

Kabashi says learning the keys of commitment, hard work and dedication have truly impacted his Marquette experience.

Coming to the practices everyday. Making sure we are focused and not playing around, makes it more fulfilling,” Kabashi says.

Stanley, a senior leader on Marquette’s club swim team, has been swimming for the past 10 to 12 years.

Due to not being able to compete last season because of COVID-19, she says this season has taken off strongly.

“It’s been nice transitioning out of Covid to a more normal season,” Stanley says. “We got to plan meets this semester again, which is a huge part of our team socially. It’s nice to have meets because it brings a lot of stuff to help you get closer with your friends when you travel and a chance to compete.”

Stanley says practice has returned to a “more normal” setting.

“Last year, you had to be very distanced and you couldn’t interact much outside of swimming, which was already hard because swimming is an individual sport anyways, so without that team element, it made it hard to motivate yourself and go to practice.”

Stanley says that joining Marquette’s swim team was one of the best decisions she’s ever made.

“Being able to swim, making goals for myself, and setting standards is a great close out to my swim career,” Stanley says.

This article was written by Johnnie Brooker. He can be reached at [email protected]