Sports Officer, Wizzy Heap, describes how First to Final-year students can win prizes from Sport on and off the pitch
Three years ago, you wouldn’t have put me down as ‘sporty’ type. Sure, I played sports, but I never thought it was worth spending more than that allocated training or competition time doing it or that I was part of anything big. And now, here I am, the Mile End Sports Officer of QMSU.
Nothing could have quite prepared me for the day I joined a club sport at university. I joined a family. Undeniably, it’s a dysfunctional one, complete with petty fights, relationships formed and lost, but ultimately, with one common interest: the love of sport.
So why play? Everyone will have different reasons. Mine differ from individual to team sports, but both have the physical benefits of adrenaline and endorphins; the other rewards including a sense of achievement when you notice a change in your strength, a boost in confidence, learning to work together and even developing a sense of leadership. Inspirational former Welsh rugby player, Gareth Thomas, once said, “never gloat, never glory in your superiority. Be humble in victory, graceful in defeat. Respect the opponent, because without an opponent there is no game.” For me, these athletic guidelines can be used off both the pitch, the court and the track. The skills we develop by accepting the losses, remaining respectful in the wins and always having our team’s backs, we take beyond our sport into the ‘real’ world.
This year I want to work on accessibility and inclusivity, by drafting policies to outline LGBT+ inclusion in club sport, producing an anti-social behaviour campaign focusing on the stigma attached to ‘laddism’, and promoting Sport England’s nationwide This Girl Can campaign.
I’m particularly excited about This Girl Can. Women often feel embarrassed to get involved in sports, whether because of insecurities about their body image, feeling judged or thinking they can’t play sports in the presence of men. This Girl Can is a ‘celebration of active women up and down the country who are doing their thing no matter how well they do it, how they look or even how red their face gets.’ It encourages women to embrace the bodies they have and enjoy exercise. Get Active, our drop-in and play-sports programme, currently offers Women’s Only Thursdays, whereby from 7-10pm, they offer sessions of swimming, basketball, football and badminton. This is a fantastic opportunity for women to get involved in a non-judgemental area, starting from £2.20 a session!
So if you’re a fresher still wondering whether or not to sign up to anything, or even a final-year student feeling like you’re missing out on something in university life, I encourage you to look into what sports can offer – it might just surprise you.
Image: Priyanka Pau