Ciaran Lennon is running for Activities Officer, here are his view on reestablishing social leagues for sports.
Sport at the University of Leeds is an important way for students to stay active and healthy in collaboration with their academic studies. Coming from a sports background, I can personally attest to the beneficial nature of staying active not just in terms of physical health but also in terms of mental wellbeing.
For some courses it is not as easy to commit to a union led team and this is where departmental social leagues fit in. These teams which are led by members of departmental committees have an understanding of the commitment difficulties of their players, but give them a great opportunity to get active and compete in social sports leagues. This year two of these social leagues have been disbanded. At first the departmental rugby league and, as of Thursday 2nd February, the rush hockey league. Rush hockey has now been replaced by short sided hockey which has not had much interest due to the late time in the academic year. The department of sport and physical activity have one of their directives quoted as ‘encouraging you to improve your health and wellbeing’, but removing these leagues seems counter-productive to this. The university have pledged £500,000 per year to reducing the cost of sport and, being the secretary of ice hockey, a sport with a high expenditure, I can see the benefit of this money first hand. But the university and union should also pledge to increase this and try to put more time and money into the social leagues and not to take away these opportunities for these students.
One of the reasons brought to me as to why these leagues, rugby more specifically, are not deemed viable is due to their injury risk. Injury is apparent in all sports regardless of level, especially contact sports. I play ice hockey with and against people who have only just learnt to ice skate and I have injured myself on multiple occasions. Does that mean ice hockey is unsuitable? Of course not! At the end of the day we are adults who want to enjoy ourselves via co-curricular activity and know the inherent risk. Social sport should not be deemed less valuable than focus sports.
As stated in my manifesto I am passionate about the reestablishment of these leagues and will lobby the University to invest more time and money into social leagues.
Ciaran Lennon, running for Activities Officer.
(Image courtesy of JPR ARTS)