I had always adored sport before arriving at Warwick. Sadly I had never been the sort of person who makes physical activity look natural. I was sceptical about how significant a role it would play in my university experience. This concerned me a little, as like any fresher I was already panicking about how I’d fit in on campus.
One year, one term on, I’m regrettably still far from a professional athlete, but I’ve discovered the huge non-competitive sporting scene at university. I’ve become heavily involved with tennis: beforehand I had never played much apart from on holiday, but now twice a week, I gather with around thirty others for two hours of fun physical activity.
The fantastic thing about social sport at university is the broad range of abilities that are involved. This year at the tennis club, we were faced with 140 freshers of all abilities during the first two weeks; from complete beginner to those who had played the game all their lives, on a grand total of four courts.
In social sport your ability no longer matters so much – you lose the stigma associated with not being part of the first team
For some, the idea of sharing a tennis court with 40 others in a huge game of ‘Around the World’ was a throwback to school P.E. that they weren’t comfortable with. Others felt that playing against complete beginners simply wasn’t for them, so very soon the group numbers fell to a more manageable size. The hard-core social players remained.
Those who have never held a racket are quickly able to learn the basic shots and integrate with everybody else across the multiple games being played. In social sport your ability no longer matters so much – you lose the stigma associated with not being part of the first team that sometimes occurred at school. You have your own team now.
I’ve watched my friends try out different university sports clubs: from football to mixed netball, ultimate frisbee to salsa, everybody has found a club that they can get involved with.
It’s never too late to get involved with a new sports club
Of course social sport isn’t for everyone. For some, competitive sport offers a buzz that can’t be found in a more relaxed environment, but having observed the Warwick Sport football leagues – which are supposedly more social – things still get very heated on the touchline! Social sport doesn’t necessarily always offer the same level of physical exercise that more intense sport can bring, but for me this is compensated for by the fun of exercising with others.
So perhaps you’re looking to try out a new social sport in 2017, make new friends, or have a healthier lifestyle. It’s never too late to get involved with a new sports club and I know for a fact that many tennis club legends have joined in term two. The best place to start your search for a new club is the Warwick SU website, which has links to all the different sports clubs’ websites and to any taster sessions they’re running for the new term.