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May 5, 2008 | by  | in Opinion |
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Uni Games not Drinking Games

Rotorua had no idea what was coming! Having extended the hand of the University Games’ friendship to polytechs, this year the regions got a taste of university culture. Rotorua was probably expecting intellectual conversation, impressive camaraderie and healthy sportsmanship with mature celebrations… What they actually got was copious amounts of drinking and a trail of destruction. This year’s University Games took a turn when our VICtorious side were sent packing because of their drunken antics. We all read the news and heard the stories. Most of us probably found it comical or even anticipated these tales. Maybe we metropolitan dwellers have become desensitized to university students’ behaviour but Rotorua was quite understandably surprised – and the regions are wondering what they’ve got themselves into.

The good to emerge from this is that we can now evaluate the place of alcohol at such events and why University Games has become synonymous with binge drinking. If anything binge drinking is the antithesis of the competitive requirements of sport. ALAC’s website alerts us to the detrimental effects of alcohol on the athlete’s temple of a body. It reduces the ability of the body to produce energy, process lactic acid and remain hydrated – pretty essential things for any budding sportsperson. An event bringing together youthful elite sportspeople should really be treated with much more professionalism than a chance for a piss-up. Why start these potential future champions with the weight of excessive alcohol on their young livers? No wonder New Zealand sport is riddled with underachievers and a culture of ‘participation’.

Perhaps more importantly, with the expansion of the University Games we need to recognize that us city slickers are role models to the newbies. They don’t have the IQ, common sense or necessary NCEA credits to tell the difference between right and wrong. Is this really the sort of example and precedent we want to give to our brothers of lesser academic status? Shame on you all for leading them astray with such bad examples.

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