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Photos used with permission from Kalya Kee and Luke Ong
On Sunday Sept. 21, Luke Ong ’18 began gathering interest on a potential Ski, Board and Surf Team for Yale-NUS College. Four weeks later, the proposal, along with 25 signatures expressing interest in the club, has been sent to the Office of the Dean of Students. Yet unlike traditional sporting societies at Yale-NUS, if approved, the Ski, Board and Surf Team will be functioning both as a recreational sports club and a competitive sports team— a distinction which raised many challenges in its application.
Traditionally, when proposing a new athletic society at Yale-NUS, applicants are required to define it as either a club or a team, with submission for teams requiring a list of participants equal to the number needed for a competition as well as a greater commitment level. Ong and fellow co-founder Kalya Kee ’18, however, have a very different vision for the Ski, Board and Surf Team. They intend for the society to cater to both recreational and competitive interest, with interested parties taking part less frequently, around once a month, compared with 10 participants who train more regularly, as well as competing in local and overseas tournaments. Indeed, to avoid these problems in the future, Ong expressed interest in a third, combined, category in the application process, one which allowed for their intended model.
Despite the issues caused by the club/team distinction, the remaining application process has otherwise been smooth for the pair. “The school provided a detailed plan…it’s pretty straight forward,” Ong noted, despite pointing out that “a lot of the guidelines weren’t in place until recently.” Similarly, he praised Associate Director of Athletics & Fitness Wain Khoo for his help in the application process, as well as Dean Kristin Greene’s enthusiasm for the project as a whole.
Although, as Kee pointed out, “if you’re not familiar with other proposals then it can be a bit tricky, creating the proposal itself.”
This sentiment was echoed by Ong, saying that “some people may have the idea but they may not be able to come up with the proposal, timing, location and stuff like that.”
The club/team model that the society hopes to adopt was borne out of a desire for inclusivity. This was something of a concern for Ong, stating that “we don’t want it to be like a team where none else joins because they can’t commit that much time, or they don’t have enough money.” It was discussed that the team itself will require a higher level of commitment and money, compared with other activities. The idea of inclusivity is central to the pitch, with both Ong and Kee expressing an interest in “wanting to build up the school’s athletics culture.”
It is Ong’s hope that the team, if approved can bring water sports, such as water skiing, surfing and wakeboarding to Yale-NUS, before potentially branching out into snow sports, such as skiing and snow boarding in the near future.