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By Matthew Handley
Michaelmas doesn’t have to be spent not knowing what’s going on, or what people are going on about. With this in mind, the OxStu present’s its alphabetical (and not at all tenuously linked) guide to sport in your first term; a slapdash tour
A is for Alternative Sports- Floorball, real tennis, octopush and more; Oxford could fill ‘Obscure Sports Quarterly’ unassisted. Each week we’ll be giving you a guide to some of Michaelmas’ more niche offering.
B is for Blue- Blues are awarded to those who participate in Varsity (see below) matches. ‘Blues’ are Oxford’s sporting elite, displaying this through the wearing of silly blazers and pushing in line at Camera.
C is for Cuppers- ‘Cuppers’ are intercollegiate competitions taking place throughout the year. Wikipedia helpfully highlights that the term is derived from the word ‘Cup’.
D is for Date with destiny- Most teams, both collegiate and university, hold trials fairly early in term. Keep your eyes peeled around college for details and essentially don’t be rubbish.
E is for Everyone- As in, ‘there’s something for’. The elite athletes have their Blues, the middling ranks have JCR leagues, and the motley crew of the under-committed and under-skilled have 2nds and 3rds leagues. There’s no excuse for not playing your part.
F is for Freshers Fair- You’ll be bombarded by club captains with leaflets promising sporting glory and banter aplenty. Approach with caution; select judiciously lest your inbox become clogged with information about sports you’ll never play. At best, the fair is your first step on the road to Blue-dom. At worst, it’s a way of putting your spam filter through its paces.
G is for Gym- As in get your skinny ass down there. Most colleges offer decent facilities at a not unreasonable price.
H is for Hockey- Cuppers take place just a few weeks into Michaelmas, so sticks at the ready, and consult your college captain for details.
I is for Iffley Road- Situated in the mythical land beyond the Carfax, Iffley Road is home to Oxford University’s Athletic and Football Clubs, and is also the site of Roger Bannister’s 4 minute mile.
J is for Judgement Day- Michaelmas begins nicely with incoherent moron and pseudo-revolutionary Trenton Oldfield (aka the berk who ruined the Boat Race) being found guilty of ‘causing a public nuisance’. So don’t you go getting any ideas…
K is for Kassam Stadium- Oxford United FC’s home ground, which offers students cut-price tickets. Keep an eye out for the FA Cup and Johnson’s Paint Trophy draws for some potentially magical occasions.
L is for Live blogs- Check our website (see below) this term for a series of live blogs which promise cutting-edge analysis and guaranteed titter-inducing humour, as well as the chance for you to get involved in the discussion.
M is for Madejski Stadium- Just a train-stop away is the home of Reading FC and the London Irish, offering top-flight football and rugby union if you fancy a weekend getaway.
N is for Netball- Cuppers don’t get going until Hilary, but this finds its way into here as college league matches get going pretty much straight away in Michaelmas, and N was a surprisingly hard letter to fill.
O is for OxStu Sport- Self-promotion o’clock. For results, news, opinions, and interviews from a well-informed team who don’t take themselves too seriously, the OxStu Sport section, both in print and online, is the place to go.
P is for Pressure- Oxford is tough, so don’t overcommit.
Q is for Quidditch- Of course Oxford has a quidditch club. Search ‘Oxford Quidditch’ on Facebook for more details, if you fancy joining the University’s second most-notable broom-wielders (behind the indefatigable Scouts).
R is for Rowing- Oh naïve freshers, attempting to make your way down the Isis at 5.30am mere hours after leaving Park End. We commend you for your efforts.
S is for Stash- The main reason anyone gets involved in Oxford sport; cool sweatshirts with your initials on immediately highlight you as a big dog to the rest of college.
T is for Tell your tutors- Notable exceptions aside, no-one wants a sweaty, panting, muddy first year attempting to explain the finer points of the twelfth-century Renaissance; notify tutors early and arrange your tutes around sporting activities. Most will be accommodating.
U is for University Parks- Home to Oxford’s cricket team, as well as countless Ultimate Frisbee and rugby shenanigans. Also, Richard Dawkins once yanked his dog out of my way whilst I was jogging there, so there you go.
V is for Varsity- Varsity is where shit gets real, as Oxford and Cambridge lock horns in matches that make El Classico seem like a playground game of Headers and Volleys. Look out for the Varisty Rugby match at the end of term; top class rugby and a cauldron-esque atmosphere at Twickenham for a bargain price.
W is for Website- ‘http://oxfordstudent.com/category/sport/’ is our online home, and the place to find archived articles and web-exclusive content.
X is for Xtreme- If scoffing a Twix in the Radcam isn’t risky enough for you, thrill-seekers will find plenty to appease their adrenalin-appetite in the university’s windsurfing and caving clubs. And yes, I hate myself for the use of ‘xtreme’.
Y is Your Say- We want to hear from you. Drop us an email, or tweet us @oxstusport, if you’ve got something you want us to cover!
Z is for zzzz- With your newly packed schedule of practice, competition and spectating, be sure to get in enough of these bad boys.