Sports Shite

Isaac Qureshi really doesn’t like The Roxy

In the UCL Code of Conduct, it states that Sports teams and members should ‘Refrain from exhibiting displays of drunken or loutish behaviour’. Of course, this is the first principle that is ruthlessly abandoned, abused, and avoided. Every single time I have been unfortunate enough to be in the presence of the sports ‘LADS’, I have wanted to distance like a vegan from a cheeseburger.

I should it make it clear that this tirade is not aimed at every sports society at UCL. I have a few in mind that have influenced my view somewhat, and as you would expect, they are the more popular sports.

There are a few certain things that particularly irritate me about sports teams, the overwhelming majority being male-dominated. It would be very easy for someone to suggest that I had a fervent repulsion for, but that is not true. I’ve heard the badminton team is pretty bearable.

It seems that the actual sporting aspect of these societies plays a secondary role to the numerous social engagements that one must attend. Very few sports teams I know train more than once a week (and sometimes not at all), and added to the shockingly frequent piss-ups, this does not paint a picture of peak physical fitness.

I find it rather odd to say the least, that for Lacrosse, you can purchase a sporting membership and/or a social membership. There are certain people who only indulge in the social membership, having never trained, played or been interested in Lacrosse.

Why is it that in the world of UCL sports teams, copious amounts of alcohol and temporary amnesia the morning after mean that it was a good night? To me that sounds absolutely shite. The worrying, and more deep-rooted cause for concern is surely the fact that Wednesday nights at The Roxy play a crucial part in some student’s lives. I support team spirit and I can completely understand that sports teams want to socialise with each other, but at what price?

A major problem that stems from this clique-like mentality is the constant alienation of the non-sport playing population of UCL. Why should sports teams have a night built around them? What makes them so special? I for one am fed up with the glorification of sportsmen/women. I think it is absolutely absurd that sporting success is more widely acknowledged than academic achievement. This is UCL we’re talking about, not some atrocious polytechnic with an illiterate contingent of meatheads.

One of the sorriest sights I’ve had the displeasure of witnessing was a pre-drinking session before a ‘toga party’ at The Roxy (of course). I retreated to another room of the flat with some non-sporting housemates, a look of disgust glued to our faces. We were quick to condemn their childish behaviour and their ‘banter’ as we eagerly anticipated their departure. On one hand, you could say that I’m simply a miserable twat who needs to lighten up. On the other hand, I’m rather glad at the age of 19 that I don’t indulge in face painting and dressing-up. Personally, I thought that ship sailed a long time ago, along with acne and GCSE’s.

Any sports star reading this may be offended. You may be thinking ‘this guy doesn’t know what he’s talking about’; but the fact of the matter is, I do. Although my rather cynical, critical stance on sports teams at UCL may not suggest it, I was once an avid sportsman, competing at quite a decent level of rugby, playing with the same group of 20 or so players six times a week.

Like I have said previously, I understand the ‘team mentality’. Had it not been for my rugby days being curtailed slightly prematurely due to heart surgery, I would not be writing this very article. During the ‘rugby years’, I was a sheep just as many people in UCL sports teams are today. That security and stability that a group of people or a team affords you is priceless. What people must learn, although it may be difficult to swallow, is that there is in fact a life beyond the team.

Call it jealousy, call it bitterness, call it what you want. I know oh too well the happiness and comfort a team can bring, but I also know the limitations of one. There is a big wide world out there, waiting to be discovered. Try it. Enjoy it. Embrace it. My justification is valid, so please don’t be offended.  If you disagree, then tough shit. I am simply trying to guide the misguided. Don’t shoot the messenger.