What is the first association you make when you hear Loughborough? SPORT, right? Understandable. This University possesses some of the most sophisticated sports equipment in the world, has consistently produced world-class athletes, and been crowned BUCS champion almost twice as many consecutive years as most of us have been alive. Great! It. Is. All. So. GREAT. Before you start drafting that hate e-mail, let me honestly assure you that I don’t wish to dismiss the wonderful achievements of students or diss their choice to partake in such pursuits. Sport is a wonderful and rewarding (I imagine) activity. That said, there are only so many times I can cope having variations of the following conversation: “So what sport do you do?” “None, really.” “Oh… You must have so much free time”; “Oh… Why would you come to Loughborough?”; or “Oh… You should join (fill in the blank).”
To respond, I don’t have free time. In fact, I hardly see my flatmates, constantly am on the verge of exhaustion and generally spend my days rushing from one commitment to another, all of which are meticulously (or psychopathically – whichever one has a better ring to you) entered in different colored pens inside my diary (according to the category of said engagement, of course). I came to Loughborough for two reasons. First, my course – Loughborough appears high in the rankings for more than just Sports Science or Engineering. Second, the student satisfaction ratings – I wanted to be a part of a community, somewhere students were valued and looked after. My expectations have been met and I can genuinely say that I made the right choice.
And finally – no. I don’t want to join a sport. I don’t have the time and I have other priorities at the moment. Furthermore, I hate the cold (which excludes outdoor sports from the running) or having a rigid training schedule that is set in stone (which excludes the rest of organised sports). There is simply much more to Loughborough than its ‘sporty’ exterior. And it gets frustrating having to always plan around training schedules, competitions and, well, Wednesdays as a whole, in order to organise an adjacent event. Or receiving horrified looks when I don’t recognise a major sporting celebrity, casually strolling through the union shop in search of a meal deal. It is just not who I am or what I am interested in… And that should be ok.
Nonetheless, I have to admit that, even if I rant and go somewhat against the grain, I still try to go for the odd run or play the occasional interdepartmental game to help rank up some points for PHIR. So I have given the whole physical activity thing a chance. Maybe next time someone invites you to try something outside your comfort zone, you will too.
– By Natali Dimitrova