Well Done On Your Blue…But Is It Deserved?
Pete Lansing discusses whether some university sportsmen and women really deserve their Blues status.
For some sportsmen and women, a Blue is the pinnacle of sporting achievement at Cambridge.
It represents a combination of raw talent mixed with both a determination and sense of discipline that can border on the batshit bonkers. So why is there such a disparity between the various Full Blues in Cambridge that somehow are given an equal accolade?
I should first point out that I am going to ignore any outliers, for instance the Boaties/Fencers/etc that have competed in the Olympic, Commonwealth games or other suitably impressive tournaments. It would be ridiculous to expect every person with a Blues Blazer to have competed at that level.
But it is not beyond the realms of expectation for the majority of Blues to have competed (or be able to compete) at say, a high county level, given that they are the proud representatives of this fine establishment.
In some cases this is met. Take the blues cyclists, who win BUCS each year seemingly just for shits and giggles, or the rugby team, whose prestige is high enough such that they attract world class opposition- they played a Northampton Saints team with England player Shane Geraghty in it and a Crawshays team with British Lion Darren Morris playing. Anyone battling against these monsters deserves their Blue.
However, in others sports this is definitely not the case.
In some sports the standard of the Blues team is comparatively far, far off that of the rowers, or even the rugby players.
If you were unlucky enough to watch last year’s Varsity Football match you will understand what I mean. The standard was just about equal to that of a cuppers division 1 match. It really was not good at all- I’ve watched chess matches that had greater intensity and entertainment value.
Now, the footballers, being lads, will kick up a fuss and declare what a dick I am, but they are missing the point.
I am not saying they are not decent players (as that would just be false), nor am I saying that they don’t try hard enough.
What I am suggesting is that perhaps the selection for who deserves a Blue in some of these sports should be a bit more rigorous.
Granted, this is far easier in timed sports, such as swimming, there there is a ‘Blues Time’ that you have to beat, as well as compete in Varsity to get the Blue. Could there not some alternative marker that can be applied in other sports?
Maybe a panel of judges is the answer, like in gymnastics. Footballers and the like can be rated at the end of the game, those getting close to 10 getting a Blue.
Perhaps a bit ridiculous, in reality the solution is to have fewer full Blue sports, maintaining the prestige of those such as the Olympic rowers who deserve the Blazer.
Beating Oxford, but worthy of a Blue?
For team sports, the Blue should be awarded based on that team’s performance in BUCS that year. Maybe they should have to be in the top national division. Or perhaps if they lose most of their games they should not get rewarded just because they played Oxford.
By all accounts the women’s lacrosse team is one of the best in the country, currently sitting top of the BUCS highest division. And the men’s cricketers find themselves competing with First Class counties each year. So it’s worth asking why the footballers – who currently play in BUCS Midland Conference 2B – are rewarded with the same Blues status for appearing in their stultifying Varsity match.
I don’t have any vendetta against our fine representatives in the nation’s most popular sport, but their case highlights a problem with the system. Maybe it’s time to look again at how we reward our most able and committed sporting stars.