In defence of Oxford sport

MILLIE ROSS stands up to accusations that ‘Oxford sport is shit’

This article is in response to Max Bray’s ‘Why Oxford Sport is Shit’, published earlier this week.

Like Max Bray, I also spent my formative years becoming increasingly aware that I am fairly average at sport. Like him, I’ve dabbled in different sports throughout my time at uni. Unlike Max, however, I am under no illusions that Oxford sport is shit. In fact, to label a whole uni’s efforts with the label, is a massive mistake.

I would probably describe myself as a ‘social sportsman’ (well, woman). I love to play sport, I enthusiastically spent my sixth form years cheering on the hockey first team from the bench, not on the pitch. At school I was the “nerdy” one- my effort at sport was enough. Needless to say, I didn’t expect to end up playing sport at university because I didn’t think those options would be open to me.

Arriving at Oxford was, therefore, a pleasant surprise. I was encouraged into three different college sports teams that I ended up playing for (with varying levels of regularity). Contrary to what your psycho PE teacher at school told you- anyone can pick up a sport and, here, many do.

Millie (centre) with the Magdalen girl

A comparative experience therefore might be fellow students from school who went on to other universities, having captained the school team and been fairly good at sport. Upon arriving at university, they found a similar number of university level teams as at Oxford that they were competing for places on. These quickly filled with county and international players and they didn’t always get a look in.

Of course, there’s no denying that college sport does vary in quality. There’s a range of levels from talented Blues players gracing teams with their presence for the odd Cuppers match, and people who only picked up a lacrosse or hockey stick for the first time a week before a game.

Millie (second from left) celebrates with OUWRFC

Of course it is difficult for men to make the Blues rugby team, or women to make the Blues netball team when every student played these sports throughout school, but if you do even the slightest investigation, there are many minor sports across the university that are keen for enthusiastic, sporty, open minded students to take on something new and have the opportunity to represent Oxford.

So maybe it’s time to get off your arse and take things into your own hands and think outside the box and take up a sport that isn’t something you’ve been playing since you were 6. I just wish I’d done it sooner.