Caked over every computer screen was the #PurpleAndProud debut event: SPORTICIPATE. Coming into my fourth year, it was a nice to see University Sport start to really market itself university wide – as an engineer it gets lonely out on North Campus!
Having always being so involved in the Athletic Union (AU is the umbrella term for the 42 Sports Clubs run by students that represent the University with teams in British University Colleges Sport aka BUCS), it did spark my interest seeing a new event pop up in such a deliberate manner. Rumour had it that SPORT Manchester was in the process of making big changes and so it’s nice to see this event leading the way forward – putting money where their mouth is if you will.
As the AU Executive Communications Officer I did see it as an obligation that I should go out and volunteer at such an event, to understand how our Sport Clubs are promoting themselves and their sport to the wider University community. However, I was pleasantly surprised by how enjoyable the day really was. A lot of effort had clearly been invested into crisp organisation of the day and this was reflected in the ease of getting involved and the enjoyable experience.
My background in Rugby Union meant that I was obviously keen to get involved in the games of touch that were offered; little did I realise I’d be able to get involved in playing for a couple of hours. The participants were anything from beginner through to the University elite. Although I was a little apprehensive of the mechanics of this, it actually worked out for the best as the more experienced aided the beginners in quickly learning the game. This led to a competitive game to begin with and perhaps a little more toward ‘winning at all costs’ by the end – but all in good spirit!
Looking back on the day, I think it was a great advertisement of all the opportunities available at the university to get involved in more than just competitive sport. It was fantastic to see even the coaches of other sports such as Badminton and Football get involved prior to their own sessions. The sense of the sport community really felt like it was coming together and I sincerely hope it encourages more to get involved in the weekly sessions that SPORT Manchester has endeavoured to arrange through the exciting new Sport England funded programme SPORTICIPATE.
With my graduation and the real world looming, I can honestly say that getting involved in university sport was the best decision I ever made. The skills I’ve gained from the roles of responsibility, the friends I’ve made from playing and all the experiences along the way have really allowed the stressful academic commitments easier to handle. Everyone needs a break; why not spend a little time developing the rest of your lifestyle?
I truly look forward to the further exciting changes that SPORT Manchester has in store and I hope that everyone looks to at least give it a try too – what have you got to lose?
AU Executive Communications Officer