St Andrews students are proud of the University and its reputation for a plethora reasons. Its tradition and academic reputation is incredible, its beauty unmatched. But for many students, the pride and joy of St Andrews is in its sports clubs. Not only are sports teams the major players on the social scene, they are unbelievably competitive for a university of St Andrews’ size. Coming to university can feel a lot like jumping in at the deep end before learning how to swim. Here, we aim to make your sporting life a little bit easier to start.
What to do
As with everything at St Andrews, the best thing a fresher can do is get involved. Whether you have played tennis for 20 years or caught a cricket ball for the first time this summer, there will never be a better opportunity to give sport a go than during your first year at university.
Pre-season is nearly upon us, and if you are especially gifted or remarkably keen, send the president of your desired sports team an email (links to all clubs and their contacts are easily available on the Saints Sport website).
Alternatively, you can wait until Freshers’ Week or the first few weeks of teaching, where most of the action happens. Every year there are two days designed specifically for students to try new sports and officially sign up for clubs. The annual ‘give it a go’ day does what it says on the tin. A vast array of sports teams (almost all, in fact) have members on hand to run a fun and easy session for beginners to come along and try it out. No experience is necessary at all, and the exercises are designed for people who have no idea what they are doing, so don’t be put off by the thought of embarrassing yourself. The day runs from early morning to late evening, with food and drink available all day and enthusiastic helpers on hand to guide you in the right direction. Come down and enjoy some korfball, frisbee, golf, badminton or anything else that tickles your fancy.
Secondly, the Sports Fayre gives you the chance to put your name on emailing lists, or sign up and pay for membership of your club right away. Again this will be held at the sports centre, and provides a great opportunity to speak to people who are already committed members of their clubs. Essentially, the sports hall is filled with stalls of sports teams, each of which tries to get your attention in the hope that you’ll sign up and join their team. You are wanted whether you’re expert or beginner – sport in St Andrews really is exceptionally inclusive.
Who to talk to
This may sound bizarre and, at first, frankly unhelpful, but the real answer to this question is everyone. Talk to your friends, fellow freshers, academic mums and dads, brothers and sisters, even random acquaintances during and after Freshers’ Week. You never know who you will bump into in the Union, and in my experience everyone is keen to talk about and promote their clubs. Talking to your mates is important, especially if you are of the more nervous disposition and don’t fancy getting involved by yourself.
If there is a doubt in your head over whether to pursue your sporting endeavours at university, squash it. Not only will you have the chance to sweat out your hangovers and achieve genuine sporting success, your social life will love you for it. Sport is for everyone, and even if you don’t fancy joining any teams affiliated with the University, the facilities on hand allow you to do your own thing; whether that may be joining a Sunday League football team or simply working out in the newly redeveloped gym. The possibilities really are endless.
Check out our go-to guide for sport in St Andrews.