*Note: Dissertation, assignments and placements have taken over my life, sorry for my lack of blogging people*
My advice for any fresher or in fact any student…. join a sports team!
I remember one of the first things I did after settling into London as a fresher was to go to the ‘Freshers fair’. My mission was to sign up to the netball team. Now three years later I’m still a part of that amazing team and I was even captain during my second year! This blog post is about how amazing netball at City is, but mainly about how joining a sports team in my first year of uni brought me some of the best friends I could ask for and how Wednesdays became my most sociable and enjoyable day of the week!
Let’s start with the question everyone asks themselves before doing something, ‘am I good enough?’ My answer to you is, yes you are, and you don’t know until you try!
My position: I play attacking positions, usually GS/GA, or more recently WA. I have always played netball, from a young age at primary school and secondary school, and have a love for the sport. What was different about coming into University leagues was the intensity of the game! The competitiveness, speed and the strategical play just excited me to another level! Doing a nursing degree and playing netball can be hard sometimes because of timetabling issues but that should never put you off! I find it’s the thing I look forward to most. Sometimes doing nursing can make you feel segregated from university life but, being a part of a team reminds you that you are still a student and can have fun with friends and just release all the stress that has built up from your course.
We train on Tuesdays nights and play matches on Wednesdays (AKA BUCS Wednesdays), followed by sports night in the SU, where being the healthy athletes we are, we celebrate (or commiserate) our match outcomes with a tequila or two….
Training: We all train hard as a team and have a fantastic coach / therapist (because we all get crazy sometimes) Claire (AKA Shappers) who plays in a women’s league herself so inspires us to be the best we can be. The session will usually consist of a warm up, doing fitness training, then drills, usually focusing on a particular area of play for example defence, footwork etc. then we will do match play. Claire will always try to focus on ways to improve our game from the last match and better our game play for the next matches. Training is so much fun, we get to all catch up as a team, sweat and most importantly practice together. We play well because we train together, we know how each other moves and thinks and that’s what gives us an advantage. Although Claire would argue we can sometimes make the simplest drills look complicated… ha I guess we are all just special like that!
Matches: Wednesday is the best day of the working week because it’s match day! Every uni across the country takes part in BUCS Wednesday’s, whatever the sport it is will be usually played on this day! There is no better feeling than putting on your team colours to represent your university on a match day! The excited nerves, the anticipation of what the opposing team will be like or how you will play, the first whistle of the match! This is what makes sport great, the euphoria and endorphins make you feel so good! There is also another league we have entered this year called LUSL, meaning that more girls are able to play matches. As matches are on Saturdays or Mondays, people who are on placement can take part in games if they’re not free on Wednesdays. Winning is amazing but even if we lose we have all worked together as a team and tried our best and we will work at winning the next match! And there is always the SU to look forward to….
No matter if we have won or lost, the matches are over and we all congregate as mixed sports teams for an evening of responsible drinking *cough*, ‘beer ponging’ and social mingling. Everyone lets their hair down and has a great time and that’s part of what being a student is about! I have spent many fun nights in the SU and meeting fellow sports players is such a great way to make friends and for me I even met my boyfriend this way back in first year as he played in the football team! SU nights are to be enjoyed – they’re cheap, cheerful and a great social!
CitySport: City has invested a huge amount of money and effort in creating a new sports facility for us to train and play in. We can now call CitySport our home turf and be proud of its facilities! Being a part of a sports team lets you have the best access to the gym, gym classes and getting team clothing (obviously what we all want for Sunday afternoons). The sports officers are so passionate about maximising sport at the university, they put on fantastic events including our sports awards, this year to be hosted at the Emirates stadium and our FIRST ever Varsity event against Kingston! I’m super proud to be part of City’s sports revolution and to have played an active part in it!
The girls: I can’t use enough words to describe how much I adore each of the girls. I win, lose, sweat, laugh, dance and occasionally cry with these girls …. They will be some of the best friends I will make and will last for life. We are all passionate about playing netball and we all want to see each other be the best we can be. I’m not the best player on the team but the girls I play with give me the confidence to play to my best ability and believe in myself. Team mates are the best friends you can make at university.
How has being involved in sport helped me in my degree as a nurse? Being involved in netball has shown me the true importance of team work and friendship. You work better in a positive environment and that ethos is what we as a team try to convey to each other every match. Team work in nursing is crucial too, and by being a part of a sports team that has put me at an advantage in this respect.
Being in my last year of uni, the thought of not being a part of my university netball team makes me want to cry, however I can look back and say joining a sports team was something I will NEVER regret – in fact, it was the best thing I did!