By now, the topic of Covid-19 in the sporting world is starting to resemble an annoying old song, left on repeat for months… and everybody is getting sick of it (no pun intended).
This is no different for the sports clubs at the University of Stirling (UoS).
In accordance with government regulations and the university’s guidelines, all the clubs have underwent a significant transformation to provide a safe environment for their members. Whether this included no contact for the contact sports, limited numbers of players on the field or in the pool, or a lot of social distancing, face coverings and disinfection using ‑ coronavirus has provided a challenge for all of our sports clubs.
As Edd Keelar, the UoS Sports President, said in his interview Edd Keeler: Sports President without any sports: “One of the biggest concerns [this year] is recruitment, letting everybody know that clubs are still happening.”
Hence, a major adjustment made by the Sports Union this year was to put the annual Give‑It‑A‑Go (GIAG) sport events online.
“I think it would be really exciting to see all the innovative things that the clubs do, given a new platform,” says Edd. “Give-It-A-Go is not just about giving the sport a go, it’s about seeing what the club’s like, seeing if you want to be part of it.”
And that’s exactly what I did. I went on a virtual hike with the Mountaineering club, gave rugby a go with the Women’s Rugby Team and even went skiing with the Snowsports people, all from the comfort of my living room.
First things first: Stirling University Women’s Rugby Football Club (SUWRFC).
As I logged into the Teams call, with 25 people already present, there seemed to be an ongoing struggle with getting the screen sharing on for their Kahoot quiz.
“On a rugby pitch we are organised, elsewhere is not as good,” was someone’s apology.
It didn’t take long before the quiz was in full blast. Questions ranging from the general rugby rules to ‘fun facts’ about the committee members, spiced up with pictures of the team on and off the field.
Even though I failed the quiz miserably, I thoroughly enjoyed it.
I feel like my life wouldn’t be complete, without knowing that Amber‑Rose on the team has a sausage dog fear or that Anya has a pet snake called Strandford. Or that the team was undefeated in the 2019/2020 league.
As Emily Russell, the president of SUWRFC, concluded: “It’s quite difficult to give ruby a give it a go, without actually giving rugby a go. [But] I believe that joining a sports team really does end up being the highlight of your university time and women’s rugby as a club are inclusive, welcoming and altogether a brilliant bunch of girls who get on well and support each other.
As I left the call, I could not help feeling that if these ladies are as energetic on the pitch as they are during a Teams call, the UoS has nothing to fear; the SUWRFC will be undefeated for many more seasons to come.
Next up was the University of Stirling Mountaineering Club (USMC).
With at least 30 people present, Joe McIlwraith, the president of the USMC, was pleasantly surprised by the amount of people wanting to join mountaineering this year.
All he could say was, “Wow, so many people.”
After that the club’s presentation began, showing us a selection of great pictures portraying the committee members in their elements.
“I am not easy on the eye, my mum says,” Joe kicked off the committee introduction.
Whilst informing us of all the current restrictions for the club and the ‘can and cannots’ due to COVID-19, as well as their past activities and future plans, there was an occasional interruption by someone shouting “somebody just swallowed a fly”. The club confirmed what we all suspected ‑ it is going to be a tough year for mountaineering, as much as for any other sport club.
For any future hikers and climbers out there, don’t worry. As Joe said, worse come to worse, “Dumyat is literally in our back garden.”
Last but not least, Stirling Snowsports.
Almost a must during GIAG, the Snowsports club also started by introducing the committee. Each member had a visual starter pack prepared, with ‘fun facts’ about themselves, lots of embarrassing pictures and memorabilia from their university years.
Who could have guessed that the Social Secretary Lindsay’s favourite drink is “anything that’s free or a rose” or that Secretary Laura’s special power is “napping through socials”?
As an ice‑breaker, Snowsports decided to play Never Have I Ever (Snowsports Edition, of course). This way, the 21 people who have logged in for this event could learn more about the club and its members with a nice cold beverage in their hand.
As the rumour has it, Snowsports are a great fun outside of the slopes too, especial on the dance floor in Fubar or on the tables in Tingle. As of now, however, we will have to wait a while longer to see this side of them.
Until then, don’t be shy to try a new sports and bleed green!
Feature Image: University of Stirling Sports Union