After a whirlwind 72 hours where I’d barely had the chance to catch my breath, I was finally able to pause and reflect. I’d just returned from the Ricoh Arena and Varsity 2017 was officially over. At this point, I had assumed I would be overcome with relief that the busiest weekend of my time as Sport Editor would be over. But another feeling predominated instead: sadness.
I found myself wishing it wasn’t over. Overseeing the Boar Sport’s Varsity coverage was undoubtedly the most time-consuming project I’d ever embarked upon, but also the most rewarding. I was lucky enough to experience the defining moments of the weekend: the incredible atmosphere at Planet Ice, a packed Desso Hall watching the women’s volleyball at 10.30pm on Friday night, celebrations as Men’s Hockey clinched Varsity on Saturday, and the rugby union finale on the Sunday.
Overseeing the Boar Sport’s Varsity coverage was undoubtedly the most time-consuming project I’d ever embarked upon, but also the most rewarding
Yet less-heralded moments will stick in the memory. Spectators arriving 90 minutes before the Women’s Netball to grab prime position on the viewing balcony, or the impressive numbers who turned up at 9.30 on a Sunday morning to cheer on Men’s Lacrosse. None of the instances I’ve listed would have happened without one factor: an unashamed, unadulterated passion for university sport.
This courses through the veins of everyone involved in sport on campus. It’s as evident in the flurry of athletes liking and sharing articles on social media as on their red and black painted faces on game day. Indeed, Varsity is simply a heightened form of this passion. For three days, the enthusiasm for a particular sport isn’t just present in those participating. For three days, there’s a sense of belonging to more than just one club – there’s a sense of belonging to #TeamWarwick.
My role has given me the privilege of reporting on a year in the university sporting cycle. If I’ve noticed one thing throughout that time, it’s that our sportsmen and women are immensely proud to represent their clubs. Whenever I’ve called on clubs to be featured in the newspaper or online the response has been overwhelming. Whenever any of the Boar Sport team decide to journey to the Sports Centre, Cryfield, or, god forbid, Westwood on a Wednesday afternoon they are always met with someone who is more than happy to talk about their sport.
Varsity matters because sport matters
This has left me in the minority of people who have a real fondness for university sport without playing themselves. I wouldn’t have imagined this when, as a fresher of just a few weeks, I volunteered to write a match report on the Men’s Football 4s. My report didn’t even get published and I walked away still untouched by the university sport bug. What struck me, however, was how keen Warwick’s captain was to accept my tentative approach for an interview. He needed no second invitation to talk about his team and their hopes for the season ahead.
Varsity matters because sport matters. The weekend is always a mix of tribalism, enthusiasm, commitment and pride that builds throughout the year. It’s a phenomenon that I feel lucky to have witnessed first-hand, and a phenomenon that I’m certainly going to miss.