Bench Press: Good Sport

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Welcome to Bench Press! My name is Lainie Rowland and I’m the starting quarterback on the football team, like to run marathons during my free time, and am currently in the process of qualifying for the Rio Olympics as a competitive ping pong player. I’m kidding, of course, but I do love sports and Brown, so I’m really excited to write about a combination of the two this year. 

For many overachieving and super involved Brown students, coming to college and not playing on a competitive sports team is a huge transition. In high school, my schedule was dictated by practices, meets, games, and competitions . Coming to Brown and losing that structure was disconcerting. It was really weird to drop these commitments that I had become so used to having and I was kind of annoyed that my workouts had become so unstructured. I never thought that I would say it, but I (almost) missed running laps, doing abs torturing myself with my teammates, and swimming drills. I am by no means competitive enough, skilled enough (trust me), nor dedicated enough to play on any of our competitive, Division 1 teams. Thankfully, for people like myself, as well as what I suspect are many of my classmates, there are numerous options available.

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Sports gifs are fun… sorry if I give you a headache. Keep reading and I promise you’ll feel better.

So, as is the case at most other institutions of higher education, Brown offers three tiers of competitive athletics. First there’s varsity, for the truly committed and talented among us. Then there’s club for still highly talented and committed athletes. And lastly, intramural, for those who just like to play for the heck of it. At Brown, a few of our club teams actually take the place of varsity teams in certain sports. For example, our rugby team is actually a club sport, but is still incredibly competitive — they had an undefeated spring season last year. The same thing goes for sailing and ultimate frisbee, both of which are also super successful. Other club sports (who do  have varsity counterparts), including lacrosse and volleyball, also travel throughout the East Coast to compete and play against other teams. According to Brown recreations’ website, Brown’s 16 club sports team serve over 400 students.

Intramural sports are a bit less serious and less of a time commitment. It’s relatively easy to form a team. Brown uses the website to register and schedule all the teams. The offerings vary from activities such as outdoor soccer, corn holes, flag football, squash, doubles tennis and volleyball in the Fall to basketball, ice hockey and inner tube water polo (yes, you read that right) in the winter. In the Spring, you can even expect sports like badminton, softball, ultimate frisbee, and even a wiffleball tournament (upon further research, I read that current varsity baseball and softball players may not participate in this tournament. phew). Within intramural, there are even different leagues for different skill levels. For example, when I played soccer in the fall I was (thankfully and rightfully) in the low league, which ensured that everyone was able to get the right experience for their needs. Each level has its own playoffs and championships, which can be as competitive or non-competitive as you like.

Clearly, there’s no lack of sports to be played here at Brown, even for those who don’t have that much time (or talent) to commit to athletics.

Questions? Comments? Concerns? Need a pen pal? Shoot me an email at And I’m not just saying that, I would genuinely love to hear from you.


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