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March 4, 2013 | by  | in Opinion |
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Weekly Rant – For the Love of the Game

Before I came to Victoria University I was ready to become part of an environment in which sport would flourish. I probably could not have been more wrong. The realm of all things sports is being continually dominated by practically all other facets of student life in Wellington. Throughout the corridors of campus, I am saturated by posters about upcoming gigs and aspiring politicians, confronted by lobbyists for all sorts of human rights campaigns, and exposed to the latest projects put on display by the theatre department; yet I can solemnly say I cannot recall a single instance where anything relating to sport has grabbed my attention—I don’t even think a simple conversation about sport has been grasped by my ears.

What’s even more staggering is that this seems to be the way a large proportion of students at Victoria University like it; for example last year Jackson Freeman’s rather passionate VUWSA president campaign promised to put more money and attention towards clubs and sports at the university. It came across as an energetic attempt to reinvigorate a long lost necessity within the University, yet the seemingly more political-minded Rory McCourt, who did not put any significant stress on the presence of sport, was ultimately preferred by the student body.

It really is a far cry from the high school days where sporting captains were treated with utmost respect, or the sports-crazy culture of American colleges, where entire stadiums are decked out with students wearing their college colours. In Wellington, students would be doing well to recite the nickname of the University rugby club or to state which league their football team plays in.

Being a hardened sports enthusiast like myself has almost made me feel out of place throughout my tertiary years; I have somehow become part of the minority. Traditional Kiwi pastimes such as watching the footy have been replaced by hanging out at coffee shops, radically changing your fashion sense, or getting explicitly involved in current political affairs. Even the most stubborn of traditional rugby jocks are beginning to wear the baggiest of shirts and sport the alt-iest of haircuts. I have come to accept this is simply the Wellington way.

Mind you, sport has never been overly popular in the Capital; the Phoenix nor the Hurricanes have sold out the cake tin in years—hell, the All Blacks can hardly fill the stadium— and who knows when the last time a Wellington team won a national championship was. In fact, the only sporting event that attracts any real excitement is the Sevens, and to say that people go there to actually watch the rugby is both naïve and inaccurate.

I can guarantee there are more students out there who wholeheartedly miss regular contact with sport and would desire a bigger intake of it throughout their days at university. It may be a long time before sport really flourishes in Wellington, but that does not mean it should not be elapsed throughout different circles of the capital city.


Sam Patchett

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