My time at university would not have been the same without the huge network of support and friendship I discovered within my sports club. I had never had a proper experience as part of a hard-working sports team to any sort of intensity before I came to university. Within my first year, I was presented the opportunity to enter this alien world of sports teams - this was something that I really didn’t want to miss.
At the Sport and Societies fair, I went to many sports clubs and none of them really grabbed my attention. This was when I was approached by a member of the Blitz American Football team who talked to me about how the club was run and how people were treated within the club. The passion which the representative had for the team and the society as a whole really shone through. This made me sign up on the spot, along with the amount of value the signup fee gave.
The first training session gave us all a feel for a few of the different positions that we could play as well as how the game was played (for the amateurs). I personally had no idea what I was doing and had no idea about the different positions and roles that were available to play. This meant that throughout the session they gave me ideas on what positions I could play and the different techniques which would be required of me. From that point onwards, I was hooked. I loved going to training which was 3 times a week for around 10 hours overall. It gave me a real sense of progression and pride from throwing myself into something new and really getting seeing progress within my style of play
I really wanted to try new things when I came to university and Blitz were the first and probably the most important change in activities that I participated in. Within the first week I met people that I knew I was going to be friends with for years to come. Everyone was extremely welcoming and with the help of the coaches, who were not paid but put their time into it would help no matter how small an issue you were having was. I played quarterback in my first year and, although I did not play much, I loved the training and the well organised socials that we had on a Wednesday. Our club was run very efficiently by the committee and they made sure that all the preparations were done before we started training or a game.
In my second year I was the society health and safety officer which, along with its own challenges, brought huge reward in terms of being an integral part of the safe running of the club and making sure that everyone was fit and any injuries were dealt with.
Being the health and safety officer for the team really gave me a real sense of responsibility towards my friends and team mates. They had to have full confidence that if they had an issue I could fix it or find somewhere that it could be taken care of. This responsibility made me much more organised through having to fill in a lot of paperwork, learning risk assessment skills (that I would also need to use throughout my degree) and arranging ambulance crews which were compulsory at every game. These are skills that I will always find valuable and it is a key point that can, and I have, placed on my CV to show any prospective employers that I have a working knowledge of health and safety.
The ‘Sports and Societies’ experience has given me friends for life and a new appreciation for how much effort goes into running a club and how much students give back to the societies that they are part of. I would say that, outside of academics, the societies are one of the biggest things at university, regardless of what hobbies you have or want to develop!