Image: Tim Nunan

My first Varsity

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As a fresher, Varsity 2017 was the first I’ve ever experienced – both as a student, and a roving reporter. And, as in student sport, as in love; you never forget your first, and it’s never quite the same second time round.

As such, Thursday 23rd February to Sunday 26th February were special days for┬áme. It is no exaggeration to say they traversed wild highs and excruciating personal lows. From witnessing the Men’s Football 1s’ first Varsity win since since 2012 from amongst a horde of silenced abusive Coventry fans, to breaking my laptop on the way to the fencing – it really had it all. Over the course of those days, I took in four sports I had never watched live before, amongst others. Particularly enjoyable was the ice hockey – a great game and atmosphere, and a sport I’d love to watch again (and actually watch next time, rather than with my back turned updating the Boar Sport clockwatch).

Did we succeed? Highly debatable. But did we try? Certainly

Ah, yes, the clockwatch. Another new experience, but another one I’m very thankful for having had. With fixtures going on at all times and all places, we tried our best to keep those interested informed and entertained. Did we succeed? Highly debatable. But did we try? Certainly.

For four glorious days of the academic year, lacrosse is more important than lectures. Equestrian is more important than essays, and, dare I say it, squash is more important than Smack

I suppose it is easy to dismiss Varsity. The honest truth is that a lot of students don’t even know it’s going on, and those that do are often disengaged. But – and I am trying to avoid glib sentiment here – attending fixtures of all kinds, and speaking to athletes of all shapes and sizes, hammers home its importance. For four glorious days of the academic year, lacrosse is more important than lectures. Equestrian is more important than essays, and, dare I say it, squash is more important than Smack. There are hundreds upon hundreds of people who work behind the scenes tirelessly for Warwick Sport, who spend hours on the training field perfecting every last aspect of their game.

The latter group will probably never represent their country in that sport, but they can represent their uni – and feel like heroes in the process. Varsity provides that platform, and to see supporters turn out in force united behind a team, whose players they may not know, is truly special.

You can’t have a competition, with only one competitor

Yes, that support can be distasteful, or cringey, on occasion. But that is not really the point; and in-fact, that’s not even exclusive to Warwick. Yes, even Coventry’s students and sports men and women, despite their enjoyable ineptitude when it comes to winning Varsity, deserve praise too. You can’t have a competition, with only one competitor.

All in all, a magical few days – and I can’t wait to do it all next year. Even if, deep down, I know that Varsity 2017, for me and many others, will be in a class of its own.

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