Writer: Adriana Torres
It’s 3pm on a rainy Tuesday and I’m unsure of what turnout to expect at the Southern University Games (SUG), despite all the signs placed around the Victoria University Fitness and Aquatic Centre. Walking up the Building L stairs, I recall all those Saturday morning reception shifts where I processed numerous SUG applications. Today was finally my chance to see what all the fuss was about and why around 2,000 student-athletes get involved in this sporting event every year.
As I open the door to my previous workplace, my senses detect a familiar scent of the pool and sporting equipment, which evoke a Deja vu kind of feeling. After being welcomed by a few familiar faces I enter the Level 1 courts and notice the scoreboard. It’s clear to see that one of the netball teams is in the lead by about thirty points. I ask one of the students on the side line, ‘Who is the dark and who is the light team?’ I was proud to learn that Victoria University (VU) was in the lead against Melbourne University.
It doesn’t surprise me though, as VU (if you haven’t already noticed), is now a leader in sport for universities. As the match progressed I look a little bit closer and notice that there are female and male students playing in unison and performing to the best of their ability. Sweating, red in the face and communicating as a team should. However, the opposition wasn’t going to back out without a fight. This made it an exciting match to watch for me as a spectator.
I quickly learned that participating in the SUG is a great way for students to de-stress after exams, make new friends, work within a team environment and keep warm. We all know that there’s only so much that portable heaters and hot drinks can do to keep us Melbournians from shivering during chilly winters. Once that match concluded there were high-fives and handshakes a-plenty. I turned around to watch the next netball match.
This allowed me some time to socialise with the netball players and I noticed that the teams comprised of VU staff, fellow classmates, siblings and VU alumni, which in itself made the 2016 SUG event a joyful experience to be a part of.
Second year Physical Education (Secondary Teaching) student, Maria Neophytou says, ‘If you love sport and creating new friendships and fun experiences while you study, netball is great for that.’ It was also pleasant to hear spectators, many of whom were students, making team dinner plans to celebrate after playing and watching the games for that evening.
Wednesday at 3:42pm: Whitten Oval. It’s time to catch the intense basketball competition. I decided to interview some parents watching their son play. A delightful mum, who wished to remain anonymous, mentioned that her pleasant match experience commenced when she was escorted by one of the VU staff members to the seating area. Her son, who is currently studying a Diploma of Sport, trains for two hours, four days per week. Her highlight of the day was knowing that her son had been ‘hand selected’ to represent VU in the SUG games.
Wednesday 7pm: The VU Bar. Chicken parmigiana was on my mind. The wonderful team at VU Sport funded catering as part of the participant package at the SUG Team dinner. This attracted an attendance of over 180 SUG participants. I don’t know if it was because of the long waiting line or because it was another freezing day, but these parmas tasted amazing and were certainly worth the wait. Catching up with my colleagues was lovely; it’s inspiring to see how people evolve and grow with time in their chosen fields. One thing remains the same though, and that’s VU’s community environment. Volunteering for this report is an example of how great VU is at staying connected to its alumni.
From my experience, I highly recommend any student who is interested in socialising with people who adore sports to sign up to the next Uni Games event. The Snow University Games will be held at Mt Buller from 30 August to 3 September, and the (Australian University Games (AUG) will be held in Perth from 25 to 30 September 2016.
I’m sure you’ll love the experience!
As a future Marketing student, I did not hesitate to volunteer for Hyde magazine to write about my experience as a spectator at the 2016 Southern University Games (SUG).
Why, you may ask?
How could I resist giving back to the university that provided me ample professional development opportunities, and lifelong friendships? Having a strong focus on further developing as a Marketing professional, writing about my experience at this year’s SUG would also allow me the chance to practice content writing and the opportunity to be part of Victoria University’s centenary celebrations. In my eyes that’s a win-win!
Adriana studied Bachelor of Business and Event Management at VU Footscray Park.