The importance and value of sport at university
Whichever sport you participate in (mine were Cricket and Rugby), it brings students together - whether freshers or established. Sport allows students to define themselves and gain confidence in a new environment. Given our varied backgrounds and experience (including international students) and the fact that we knew little about each other or how good each one of us was at our chosen sport, it was a great learning and a great leveller.
For me, sport was an outlet from all the studying and a means to express yourself and your skills and abilities in a different way. Sport was also a means to appreciate and respect your team - mates and fellow students. We learnt practical lessons in life outside the lecture theatres and tutorials which would help us later when entering the world of work. For example, interpersonal skills, leadership, management, delegation, camaraderie, trust, team spirit, work ethic, friendship and being competitive.
Like with any activity, academic or physical, planning and preparation are vital. The rugby (circuit) training sessions taken by the then coach Stan Addicott (now Chairman of Swansea RFC) were a real test. But through my involvement I met Swansea RFC players who were some of the friendliest people ever. However, I do believe that I ended up playing for the university rugby team more by chance and luck as all sides were some of the strongest and most powerful I had come across at that time. I had flying lessons in the scrum and broke my ribs in the first month at the University…..
Playing for the University was an ambition. I was proud to represent the university at all levels and especially in the UAU competitions. Playing cricket for the University was my main sport – I was awarded a University Cricket Cap but was not able to collect as I could not attend the event.
All I will say is that when I returned home to play for my local cricket and rugby teams I was a much fitter and better player.
On the topic of fellowship and friendship, in my second year, together with a good friend Simon George, we arranged an England v Wales rugby match with students from Neuadd Mary Williams. Simon was the (winning) Wales captain and I was the (losing) England captain. Irrespective of the result (I will concede that the better side won on the day!) it brought the whole hall together and we had supporters who attended the match and celebrated that evening at our social gathering afterwards...
So, for me, sport was the “other” very important education that I received whilst studying at Swansea University and one which I cherish to this day.