It’s not the Six Nations. You can forget the Champions League. And who’s even heard of Sochi? No, everybody knows what the biggest sporting event of the next few months is. It’s Varsity, of course, with Warwick and Coventry clashing for a 24th time. However, with Warwick emerging victorious in every single Varsity series to date, making the competition look about as equal as a rugby match between England and Scotland, some are beginning to ask the question: is it even worth it? After all, we might as well just save all the hassle and crown ourselves winners by default. Right?
I wanted to find out if optimism over at the nearby polytechnic was high. So, I tried to get in contact with the good folks over at Source, the student newspaper at Coventry. Unfortunately, despite initially being promised a reply, my attempt at organizing a chat with somebody- anybody- at the paper, failed. It would appear optimism amongst those writing on the paper isn’t really that high, then. I wasn’t deterred though, because I had a plan B up my sleeve. And that plan B was my friend Dave, who attends Cov Uni.
Yeah I know, so my mate David isn’t exactly an authority on all things sport at Coventry, but he’s been keeping up to date with all the Varsity goings on and is good friends with a number of people representing the Uni, so he seemed a good person to talk to. I met him deep behind enemy lines (well, Wetherspoons in Coventry) for a chat. And, in his opinion, this Varsity series has the potential to be a game-changer. 2014, in his belief, was going to bring an end to the 24 years of hurt, establishing Coventry as the new dominant force in the Midlands.
Warwick students are “all knitted jumpers, pressed trousers and polished shoes, with a name like Gerald or Beatrice”.
“The time has come for a Coventry victory, it’s going to happen,” he began, prompting a half hour long conversation of well-balanced opinion and neutral judgement (or something like that). “Alright, so last year was a bit of a whitewash in terms of the overall final score, but sometimes a big defeat like that is needed to change things up a bit. Warwick are going to be complacent, whereas at Coventry we’re fired up to avenge that thrashing.”
Dave then went on to explain away the dearth of Coventry success since the two institutions began competing. He admitted that “24 years is a long time without success”, before comparing his Uni to Manchester United for, after all, they “once went 26 years without claiming a league title”. In doing so, he probably made the first, and last, comparison between Coventry University and Manchester United. Although, with United playing as well as they have been in recent weeks, sliding down the league table about as quickly as David Moyes shears years off of his life expectancy through sheer stress, the comparison may not be as utterly outlandish as it first appears.
After a bit more Coventry bravado, it seemed a good time to delicately remind David that, despite his confidence in a defeat for Warwick, Coventry had just lost the first clash in the series, in the Ice Hockey, typically one of the few sports his Uni have bossed us at. “Fair enough, we might have dropped 4 points there, but did you see the game?” he asked me. “We dominated the whole thing and I’ve no idea how we lost it. Warwick were so lucky, all of their goals came from lucky breaks and it was Coventry who did all the pressing, we dominated possession. We definitely looked better and even had the player of the match on our team, which tells you how flukey the scoreline was.”
Hey, Warwick may be the better Uni in terms of those league tables, but it would appear from that reaction that Coventry are definitely the superior institution when it comes to Whinge Studies. The Ice Hockey was settled for another year though, what about those other sports? Surprise surprise: David fancied Coventry’s chances in the football and the rugby.
“Our men’s first team won 2-1 last year in the football, plus they’re having a better BUCS season with 34 points to Warwick’s 20. I’m confident for the rugby as well as last year we were pretty unlucky. The men’s firsts are second in their league at the minute so they’ll be coming into the game in good form.” He also had some slightly daunting information on the men’s volleyball team, who are unbeaten this year, with seven victories from seven, and “nailed on for a result this Varsity”.
After listening to a few more predictions of big Coventry victories in a number of different sports- trust me, David won’t be getting a job as Mystic Meg any time soon- as well as a withering assessment of Warwick students as “all knitted jumpers, pressed trousers and polished shoes, with a name like Gerald or Beatrice”, we begun to chat more about sport at University in general, and the similarities and differences between Warwick and Coventry. Interestingly, a number of the issues some students recently raised regarding sport at Warwick seemed also to be problems at Coventry.
The time will come when we’re a bigger and better University than Warwick. Watch this space.”
“The connection between sport and drinking at our Uni is quite high and I know that’s been an issue for some people. There’s definitely a drinking culture and things like initiations can put people off taking sport up at Coventry”, I was told. Dave’s insight struck me as being something you could just as easily hear a Warwick student say, and it’s perhaps reassuring to know that the problem of drinking and participation isn’t exclusively localized to Warwick. Another of David’s gripes brought us back to the topic of Varsity. He expressed some concern about the format of the competition, and in particular at how many of the points up for grabs are in sports where Warwick has had a team for a lot longer than Coventry.
Not that these fears dented his confidence too much, however. “Coventry won an award from The Times for the best modern university last year”, he said, “and we’re definitely progressing well. The University is growing, and we’re attracting more and more students, and the time will come when we’re the bigger and better Uni. Watch this space.”
So, there you have it, the Varsity hopes of a genuine Coventry student. Fair enough, it’s not somebody from the Coventry student paper, which would have been nice, but I’m pretty sure they wouldn’t have quite so emphatically stoked up the rivalry between the two Universities, especially by professing the opinion that everyone at Warwick is either a “Gerald or a Beatrice”, so I guess it’s not all bad. And, just for the record, Dave is actually a really nice guy, and we should all feel some sympathy for him when Coventry get destroyed (again). You’ll be able to see first hand just how wrong he is in his predictions by checking the Boar Sport webpage, or by picking up the special Varsity pull-out in The Boar during week 9.