Most sports teams at Life Chiropractic College West have been kept off the field for much of 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but exciting changes will improve student access to athletics once events resume.
As part of the new Club Sport program within the Life West athletic department, many sports teams at the college are now recognized as official school clubs. This change allows for better organization for all programs and improved accessibility for members of the Life West community.
Life West staff members involved with the decisions say the moves allow for increased student participation and higher awareness of athletic events within the Life West community.
The school has also formed the Life West Sports Council to assist with outreach to students. The Sports Council includes representatives from the school’s rugby, hockey, soccer, softball, and esports teams, all of which compete at different levels from local competitions all the way to national tournaments.
“The sports council will help increase the visibility of club sports on campus,” Life West Student Life Manager Dani Lorta said. “The formalized structure as official student organizations will help make the teams sustainable and a long-term part of athletics.”
“The Sports Council has been set up so we can grow, facilitate, and foster opportunities for athletes on campus,” Life West athletic director Adriaan Ferris said. “We’ve found we have some serious athletes who have a love of sport and chiropractic, and we’re pursuing the interests of students.”
The Sports Council will gauge student interest, the potential for student involvement, and long-term sustainability in examining whether or not to add new teams. Student athletics coordinator Heinrich Henstock said the driving force behind the council’s formation was to raise awareness of the athletic opportunities available to the Life West community.
“We have a lot of sports teams on campus, but up until now, unless you were close friends with people on the teams, there wasn’t a way to know when and where events were happening or if teams even existed,” Henstock said. “The Sports Council was created to find ways to help teams expand in ways they couldn’t by themselves.”
Ferris stressed that continued collaboration between students and staff will be key to the growth of new and existing athletic programs.
“Ultimately, it’s up to the students to decide how they want to participate,” he said. “The athletic department is here to help guide them through that process.”
In an encouraging sign of what may be to come, the new structure has already led to new events for Life West students. A student-led video game tournament was held in early August, and Ferris added that an increased emphasis could be placed on esports in the future if student interest remains high.
“Esports has a lot of popularity among the current student body and we’re excited about what that could mean for the future,” he said. “We feel there’s a new opportunity there.”
Ferris said he hopes the collaboration and support allow members of the Life West teams to spread the school’s values while competing at local, regional, and national levels.
Several of Life West’s teams have already made a difference on the sports scene. Life West’s nationally prominent rugby teams played abbreviated seasons prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, with the Men’s elite side leading the Pacific Rugby Premiership and the Women’s D2 side breaking into the top four of the NorCal League before all sports came to an abrupt halt.
The Life West hockey team also rolled through its regional league with a 20-2 overall record, and the school’s volleyball and basketball teams swept the Battle of the Bay this past February against teams from Palmer West.