Concordia Recreational Sports Club: Socializing through sports

Who said adults didn’t need a little play time?

Members of the Concordia Recreational Sports Club play basketball during one of their weekly meeting. Photo Julie Tran

Starting your upcoming university year on the right foot typically means pulling deadlines from course outlines or finding free PDF versions of expensive textbooks, but one of the best ways to make your next semester an exciting and memorable one may simply lie in joining a club.

The Concordia Recreational Sports Club (CRSC) aims to be “your adult P.E. class,” as their slogan goes, except you won’t want to skip it. Founded in January 2023 as a solution to Concordia’s lack of non-competitive sports clubs, students created a space for both making friends and playing various sports without the pressure of competition.

“We had a small budget for a starting club and we couldn't really do much with it so we had to restrain ourselves a lot,” reminisced Julie Tran, one of the CRSC’s founders. “We still managed to do weekly meetings, but we only were able to rent out one court out of a whole gymnasium at Collège de Maisonneuve.”

Throughout their first seven months of existence, the club has been very active. During the summer, the CRSC had about 15 to 20 regular members. Aside from gymnasium sports like badminton, volleyball, and basketball, to name a few, the club has also organized ice skating, hiking and cycling activities. On the weekend of Aug. 26, they even went on a camping trip to Yamaska National Park.

For CRSC member Dominic Grams, however, his highlight with the club was the beach day they had at Oka. “It was really nice to experience what beaches Quebec has to offer,” he explained.

Grams, who is entering his first year of Business Technology Management in the fall, was one of the club’s first members. Before arriving in Montreal in January, Grams lived in New York where he was involved in multiple clubs in college. He wanted to recreate this experience at Concordia. 

Being an international student and a lover of sports and physical activity, joining the club back in April was “the perfect way” for Grams to fulfill his goal of meeting people. He added that joining the CRSC and the Dragon Boat club was the best decision he could’ve made going into Concordia. 

“I'm going into the school year having already developed a lot of friendships with all kinds of people with different majors and backgrounds. It's great,” he said.

I’m going into the school year having already developed a lot of friendships with all kinds of people with different majors and backgrounds. It’s great. — Dominic Grams

Grams isn’t the only one with a similar experience. Anthony Mucci joined the club more recently—a little over a month now—and is going into his third year in engineering at Concordia. He heard about the CRSC on a Discord server while he was looking to join fun, friendly and sporty university clubs.

“I was studying intensively in engineering, so not much of a social life,” Mucci explained. “I was part of an engineering club, but all they did was technical and I wanted a bit more of a social aspect, so I went exploring.”

Mucci has gone to three gatherings with the CRSC so far. His experience has been “nothing but positive,” and the people have been “very welcoming and respectful”. He said he believes his next semester at Concordia will be more fun because of it.

"I'm looking forward to having fun and making that hell[ish] university life, well, not hell," he laughed.

For the upcoming year, Tran said the CRSC is hoping for a bigger budget to expand their offering. “[We’d like] to have the whole gymnasium—that means three courts—so we would have many simultaneous activities happening at the same time,” she said. “We’d also like to try out new things like bowling.”

Despite the club’s successful first semester, Tran said they still encountered difficulties. Namely, she said they tried to collaborate with other Concordia clubs, but it has been challenging.

“We want to reach out to as many people as possible,” Tran said. “However, sometimes it's hard to reach out to other clubs because they're so busy with their own stuff.”

Tran added that while their club is open to everyone, so far, they’ve had a larger ratio of male to female members. “This year, we want to encourage more women coming into our club and be more inclusive to all genders,” she said.

As Tran talked about the club, her eyes lit up. She said she was happy to have created a community where people could make friends and play activities together.

“[The CRSC is] the highlight of my Concordia journey so far,” beamed Tran. “I feel so proud of this club that me, David Ruiz and Karam Hamwi created. We would love for it to keep going forever and ever.”

This article originally appeared in Volume 44, Issue 1, published September 5, 2023.