Impact introduces you to your Athletic Union

A new academic year, whether it’s your first or fifth at Nottingham, brings new opportunities. Amongst the mundane and obvious academic decisions to be made, there is the much more difficult task of filling all that spare time. So if you’re still dining out on your Kellogg’s 10 metre swimming badge, or bragging about a trial with Charlton youth, perhaps you should steer your supremely athletic body in the direction of one of the many sports clubs at the Freshers’ Fair. For those of you who have never considered yourselves ‘sporty’, you can be safe in the knowledge that over ¾ of the sports offered by the Athletic Union are not available at your average school. Here, Impact will introduce you to university sport from the perspective of an enthusiast, rather than an expert.

The University of Nottingham has a rich sporting tradition, whether this is exemplified by an image of D.H Lawrence piling inn, studs up at Grove Farm or the brutal reality of Brian Moore tramping around Highfields. This is a tradition that has continued in recent years as Nottingham consistently finishes in the top ten of the BUCS’ ranking; a reality that is set to continue after the university received a grant of £247,600 from the National Lottery, which is designed to encourage students to give sport another go.

Whilst some students are being encouraged to get active, others are receiving funding to compete internationally. At the Beijing Olympics, there were two Nottingham students and six alumni competing for Team GB, which is a trend that will continue at the London games. From Whitewater-canoeing medical students to club-throwing paralympians, Nottingham has a host of students focused on London 2012. Inspiration can be drawn from these student athletes, who are often training when we are stumbling home from a night out, kebab in hand. So whilst Olympic glory or a Champions League medal is out of the question, there are still plenty of reasons to play sport at Nottingham.

Amid 75 Athletic Union sports clubs that range from the expected to the unimaginable, there is almost certainly a sport for you. You may wish to help the rugby club in their quest to return to the top division or the women’s tennis team with retaining their title. Gender distinction has also been brought to an end, with women’s Football, Rugby and Cricket, and many clubs, such as Lacrosse, offering mixed matches as well as single-sex fixtures. Further opportunities lie in the unexplored, i.e. Korfball, a Dutch hybrid of netball and basketball, and Ultimate Frisbee, which combines the scoring zones of American Football with a Frisbee. For those that prefer Gameday to match day, there is American Football, Basketball and the Nottingham Mavericks, the most successful University Ice Hockey club in Britain. A key component of the Varsity series are the Nottingham Knights, the Universities’ Cheerleading squad that have been national champions for two years running.

You might also want to join a sports club to avoid the infamous weight gain experienced as you descend into a lifestyle of takeaways and binge drinking. For those that lack the motivation in the gym, the University Boat club can provide that much needed push, while the Squash club offer a more casual keep-fit method in the form of their box leagues. There is also the social life that AU clubs offer, as joining a sports club will definitely introduce you to a variety of people who don’t live within your hall.

So the next time you find yourself endlessly watching TV, think of the fun, fitness and friends that joining a sports team can offer.

Nicholas Batty 


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