Why intercollege sport is the best thing about Cambridge
Is liquid netball the perfect hangover cure?
As someone who absolutely hated PE in school, I was sceptical about joining any sports clubs when I arrived in Cambridge last year. I assumed that most people would have been playing for years and that teams would be massively competitive to get into. My experience playing mixed netball has been the complete opposite of this and it’s time to give Cambridge’s friendliest and most enthusiastic teams the recognition they deserve!
The social aspect
Describing itself as the friendliest sports club in college, the Magdalene ‘Liquid Netball’ team plays every weekend. Easy to hear a mile off, shouting ‘keep it liquid’ and ‘garde ta phwoarrr’, the enthusiastic team has made its way to the heart of college life. If the chanting wasn’t reason enough to join, matches are usually followed by college brunch, a trip to the pub, and a detailed post match analysis – the best cure to the inevitable hangover suffered by most of the players.
It has been an amazing way to meet new people in and out of college as well as an excellent way to assert dominance over your course-mate who plays on the opposing team.
If the weekly matches weren’t enough to tickle your fancy, the pool of socialising gets that bit wider when it comes to Oxbridge sports days. Magdalene Cambridge recently faced Magdalen O*xord (come on, learn to spell) in what can only be described as the biggest showdown of mixed netball known to man. Whilst I can’t say that we necessarily bonded with the other players, we certainly enjoyed our resounding victory…
The social aspect of playing a college sport has been, all jokes aside, one of the best parts of this term. Mixed netball has been an integral part of beating the week five blues and the best possible way to ease off after a hard week.
The mental health benefits
During a Cambridge term, it can be tricky to find time to exercise. I’ve found that playing liquid netball on a Saturday morning gives me a regular slot where I know I’m going to have a break from work, get out in the fresh air, and stretch my legs. Sure, the exercise is good physically, but for me, it’s all about that mental reset after a hectic week.
We all know that finding a work/life balance at Cambridge is nigh on impossible (anyone who has managed it, kudos to you). But with Fran Ozog on the case, harassing you every weekend to come and throw a ball about, you know that it’s not just an option: college sport has become scheduled downtime. Just knowing that you have to leave your bed (or the library if you’re not procrastinating your recent essay by binge-watching Netflix) is such a boost to get the day started. I always find I’m more productive after venturing into the outside world to get some fresh air.
It’s not just mixed netball which is a key part of college life at Magdalene, but mixed lacrosse as well. The mighty ‘Sitting Dragons’ team has been just the boost that Ella Fisher, a new member this term, needed.
“It’s like a glorified egg and spoon race with a bit more chaos” she explains, as she recounts her adventures into the world of mixed lacrosse. She spoke about how friendly everyone is, with most of the team having only started playing when they came to university.
She also expressed that this is one thing that has been really great for her mental health in the last few weeks as the teamwork, fresh air, and an excuse to run around shouting things creates an excellent release from the stresses of Cambridge life. It is clear how important college sports can be; everyone looks out for their team and helps each other.
Show your college pride!
Who doesn’t love creating face paint masterpieces and aggressively shouting ‘Yeah *Insert college name here*‘ at a hotly contested sports match? Even if not playing in the game itself, going along to support the players is an equally important part of the college sports experience.
Watching your friends claim a hard-fought victory is an amazing feeling and will definitely trigger a wave of college patriotism. For the players, there is no greater feeling than seeing their hard work pay off and having the results chalked up on the blackboards in plodge.
If nothing else, the promise of some unique stash is reason enough to get involved in your college sports teams. Forget about blues, there’s no more powerful feeling than walking around town in a Magdalene mixed netball quarter zip. Whether as a player or spectator, getting involved in sports teams is a great way to be a part of wider college life, and the best way to show your support is with some funky outfits!
Whether desperately trying to cure last nights hangover or looking for a break from work, college sports are the way to go. It’s a great way to help with that elusive work/ life balance and you’ll meet a whole range of amazing new people, I can’t recommend it enough!
Feature Image Credits: Fran Ozog