The Summer Olympics may be over for another four years but the impact they made remains. “Inspire a Generation” was the theme at the 2012 London Games and, in fact, they did just that. Reports are up that children are getting more involved in sports than ever before. In London, where the games were held, Club Volleyball England has received over 30 times the usual inquires about how to get children involved. But there is no need to go all the way across the pond to get inspired.
Northeastern Illinois University (NEIU) offers many of the same sports that were featured in the Olympics right here on campus. Whether a beginner or an expert at any sport, NEIU encourages all students to participate. Dave Merrill, Associate Director of Programs at NEIU’s P.E. complex, emphasizes, “These clubs are not exclusive. We would really love for all students to come out and play sports.”
NEIU not only offers traditional sports, but they have a few unique opportunities for students to get involved with as well. The club sports that are offered during the fall semester include aikido, men’s basketball, possibly women’s basketball, boxing, ice hockey, judo, kung fu, mixed martial arts, men’s and women’s soccer, men’s and women’s volleyball, women’s dance team and ultimate disk. There is something for everyone. Paintball is in the process of becoming a club sport. Merrill states that NEIU is open to creating new clubs if the interest for the sport is there. “These clubs are run and organized by the students,” he says. “We provide the space and equipment but it is really the students that lead the club.”
To get a new sport registered as an official club at NEIU, students must submit a formal proposal to Merrill. NEIU would like to have the sports club last for more than a season, so interest from members of all classes are encouraged. If a sophomore creates the club he or she may lead it for a few years, but once they graduate Merrill says it is ideal to have another candidate take over the club. “Creating leadership models that have pride and pass it on, are the type of candidates we look for,” Merrill says of club leaders.
NEIU prides itself on getting all types of levels to come out to play and practice with their team. Competition arises when the Golden Eagles battle schools such as DePaul, UIC and Northwestern. Students who don’t wish to participate in clubs are encouraged to cheer on their fellow classmates when club sports have home games.
If you are interested in joining a team, creating a new team, or learning more about what NEIU offers, then email Dave Merrill at [email protected]