Sports Makes you Poor (but Happy)

Note: This article is hosted here for archival purposes only. It does not necessarily represent the values of the Iron Warrior or Waterloo Engineering Society in the present day.

Oh, sports. You are one expensive habit.
No matter which sport, there’s a good reason why athletes are always in need of funding. If you’re a regular exerciser, try adding up your athletics-related expenses for the past month. I don’t know about you, but my total was at least twice as much as I spent on food and I’m not even a varsity athlete! This got me thinking about the different ways in which sports can drain a bank account.
Firstly, September is the month you sign up for everything: intramurals, sports clubs, fitness classes, gym memberships, you name it. $20 here, $20 there, and suddenly you’re out a hundred bucks. The flip side of this is that those are all investments for the next four months, so it’s not as bad as it seems.
Next on the bill is equipment. Anyone who is a goalie for any sport will tell you how poor sports makes you. Having to invest in full-body armour is not cheap, and you probably wouldn’t want that stuff to be second-hand. What goes on your feet can also hit pretty hard. Cleats, cross-trainers, or skates all have a finite life, especially after the duct tape patch jobs peel away. And then there are extras like balls, racquets, sticks, bats, and helmets. Maybe this is why some people prefer cross-country running to hockey? Any equipment you have also needs to be washed, so laundry is another expense, although a minor one compared to the price of goalie gloves or a new stick.
The next question is: what are you going to wear? Nowadays, there’s a lot of emphasis on looking good at the gym and in the game. Good for you if you can ignore it and just wear whatever’s comfy, but most of us have indulged in tight-fitting compression tops or bottoms, iPod armbands, and other brand name swag. Walk into any SportCheck, Athlete’s World, Lululemon – you name it – and it’s hard to find anything under $20. If you do, it’s probably a water bottle or an XXXL lime green tank top.
So how to stay out of the red as a student athlete? Seriously, take up running. Or else try second-hand gear and sharing with friends. If you can make it down to the Kitchener Play It Again Sports, that place is a haven for second-hand goods. They buy your old gear and you can find lots of sports equipment that’s almost as good as new. Kijiji and eBay can also have great finds, as well as online clearance sales where you can get last season’s runners for $30 or overstock clothes for under $20.
Lastly, exercise makes you hungry! The weeks when I have sports every day, I can out-eat most guys. The problem is, food also costs money, and you don’t want to just keep eating whatever’s cheapest. Unfortunately, there are no second-hand food options (unless you count the food bank), so the only remedy for this is to either eat according to the Food Basics flyer, or to buy bulk with fellow starving athletes.
Yes, sports certainly is an expensive habit. However, unlike smoking or binge-drinking, it’s also good for you. It costs you more per hour to attend class than to play intramural basketball, so on the grand scheme of things, it’s just another recreational expense. Sports are challenging, social, and fun, so that’s how I’m justifying my bills.

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