Visual sports are sports, too

Kaylee Anderson

When you look around at a ballroom dance competition, everything you see screams money. From the specialty shoes to the rhinestone dresses, the travel expenses and the enrollment fees — nothing seems to come cheap. This isn’t as much of an issue when it comes to older competitors, but when you’re a college student, every penny counts.

I had never been involved in sports before coming to the University, but as soon as I began dancing with the school’s official Ballroom Dance Club it instantly became clear to me that administrators do not have the same affinity for visual, artistic sports as they do for conventional ones. The funding for the ballroom dance competition team seems minimal at best, especially with all of the specialty equipment dancers have to buy. But because our heels and practice shoes aren’t cleats, they aren’t seen as worthy investments by the school.

It’s easy for a Big Ten university to cast something like ballroom dancing to the wayside because of the substantial hype surrounding popular sports teams, but the U should also be investing in student activities that keep people active in alternate ways. The Ballroom Dance Club, in particular, has grown exponentially in the past few years, and along with it, the competition team. It’s hard to ignore such a large group of athletes with minimal financial means when their club is associated with the U. Yes, ballroom dancing is a visual sport, but it is still a sport. I may wear makeup and high heels when I compete, but I can assure you that my calves are just as toned as a soccer player’s, and I’ve had my feet stepped on far more often than a football player.

Ultimately, the University should invest more in sports that aren’t mainstream. Developing the liberal arts side of athleticism would get more students involved on campus and keep campus healthy, too.