Students at California Baptist University thrive in NCAA sports, but the Lancer athleticism also goes beyond campus and sometimes enters into extreme territory. Whether it’s jiu-jitsu, rock climbing or surfing the Lancers are able to live their purpose through their sports.
Joey Savella, senior mechanical engineering major, said he started doing jiu-jitsu to widen his martial arts background.
“It’s kind of like a chess game. It’s a one-on-one sport and you can’t rely on a team, so if you win all the glory goes to you and if you lose, you learn what you need to fix,” Savella said.
Savella participated in competitions to obtain his blue belt, which is the second belt that can be earned in jiu-jitsu.
“The blue belt shows you’ve probably lost, you’ve learned and that you worked your way up,” Savella said.
The most victorious moment Savalla said he experienced came from the results of losing a match.
“The victory I got was learning how to deal with losing,” Savella said. “It made me want to get into the gym more and practice even more.”
Another extreme sport some CBU students partake in is rock climbing. Ryan Rainwater, senior environmental science major, said he enjoys climbing because of the sense of community that comes with the sport.
“Growing up, I played lots of team sports. My teammates were always nice but the climbing community is on a whole different level,” Rainwater said. “People I’ve never met before offer food, water and even share campsites. They’re willing to share what they have.”
For Rainwater, climbing is not just a pastime but a competitive activity he takes place in.
“We have a college competition coming up in the spring called the Collegiate Climbing Series,” Rainwater said. “We go against a bunch of other schools in Southern California, like University of Southern California and University of San Diego.
Lancer women have also established themselves in the extreme sports world.
Paige Lenders, senior nursing major, started surfing when she was 2 years old, on her dad’s shoulders. Despite her years of experience, Lenders chooses not to compete.
“I never had the desire to surf competitively,” Lenders said. “We had a surf team in high school but I didn’t join because I feel it would take away from the sport.”
When it comes to trying new tricks, Lenders likes to be spontaneous.
“Some people think about something to try beforehand but I like to just do it in the moment,” Lenders said.
Lenders also said surfing has been a way for her to strengthen her relationship with Christ.
“I can just reflect on his creation and beauty and I’ll sing worship songs to myself while I’m waiting for waves.”
For CBU students, extreme sports outside of the sports the athletic department offers, are much more than exciting activities in which to partake.
Not only does it build character and community but it provides an opportunity to grow with Christ.