Sports: To play or not to play?

Virina Ghobrial

Guest writer


Throughout our time at school and even in university we are continually classified into one of two types of people: the sporty and the not so sporty ones. The girls always carrying hockey sticks around and the guys who are always in the gym seem to live in their own separate level of society (somehow dance never makes it into the ‘sports’ category). I’m going to take a look at the benefits and negatives for playing a sport, and living your life without the need to continually immerse all your muscles in various amounts of pain.


Shameless self-promotion of the Comment Editor’s Sports team

Everywhere around us we are always told that doing exercise is good for you, and the fact are in; this is true. According to the ever-wise NHS, it’s recommended to spend at least two and half-hours a week exercising. So in-between those ‘Walking Dead’ marathons, take a little break to give your body what it needs. The benefits include reducing the risk of the heart disease, stoke, osteoarthritis and also depression to name a few.

But my focus here is sports not exercise. Sports may be mainly based around physical activity, but they just as equally have a social component. Your no longer jogging along the pavement in your own bubble, but you now have to wear a uniform (no matter how unflattering that rowing onesie may be), attending a variety of team bonding exercises and being continually monitored by your entire team, opponent(s) and coaches. Does this whole extra world around exercise add to the benefits you gain or not?

On one side you can say that it can dramatically enhance your life. Especially when starting a new university or institution, playing a sport (no matter how good you are) gives you the opportunity to meet loads of new people and from a different range of years and courses. This can mean your no longer socially bound to those in your flat and have more diversity in your social calendar. Getting to know people from older years through a sport can be a big bonus. Aside from them teaching us how best to go about bargaining for the cheapest curry on brick lane and general London survival tips, they can also occasionally impart some useful study tips, with some sports societies holding the odd revision session for those in the younger years. Saying that being part of a sports club improves communication skills seems quite textbook but if you take a step back and think about it, giving yourself the opportunity to interact with such a variety of people has to prepare you somehow for the big wide world, even if you only learn how to talk yourself out of that Sunday morning fitness session.

Aside from the bounds of benefits of which I’ve only had room to name a few, there is another side to being a part of sports societies and perhaps the reason why a lot of students aren’t part of one. Firstly being a serious part of the society means not only do they take up a lot of time, this isn’t time spent chilling on a sofa, but generally leaves you drenched in sweat and aching all over. It definitely takes some skill to be able continue your day without a nap let alone do some work after this. People can also find that although they welcome a slightly fuller social calendar, soon the cost of all those sports dinners, gym membership, tours and general debauchery on a Wednesday afternoon can start to weigh you down without careful money management.


Okay, fine rowing, if you’re going to complain about not actually getting a picture from your writer then I’ll put one in… sheesh. I chose a picture that is just as flattering as your team.

To wrap up I just want to say that being part of a sporting society has the ability to dramatically improve your university life or make it that bit harder depending on what type of person you are and what your willing to try. There is no question about the benefits of exercise, but if you struggle to survive on a running machine longer than ten minutes, then maybe exercising as part of a group would be worth a try. On the other hand if your grades are taking a knock because of the three different sports societies your part of, maybe a step back and reassessment of priorities are in order.

I believe there is a sport out there for everyone and if you enjoy a chilled cup of coffee over a chess game, I’ve been told that also counts as a sport (but I’m not sure how many muscles that actually manages to exercise).

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