There is nothing more traditional than a game of cricket; it is the quintessential English sport. The iconic white uniforms; the red ball glistening in the hazy sunshine; the gentlemanly applauding as one’s opponent makes his dignified return to the pavillion for cucumber sandwiches and tea. It appears that cricket and Oxford are a pairing which were destined for each other.
Of course, we know that they’re all misconceptions. The new 20/20 format has ensured uniforms resemble a Mardi Gras parade as opposed to someone’s Sunday best; the balls struggle to glisten in the torrential rain and the post-match culinary art now resembles a Picasso of kebabs and Fosters. Sport in Oxford is similar. Whilst there have been no meanders down the River Isis in a hired pedalo, sport at Oxford University does stretch beyond the cricket, football, rowing and rugby which traditionally dominates the newspaper.
During the next eight weeks, new sports will be explored. Boots will be discarded for ballroom dancing and Korfball will replace caught balls as the lesser known sports in Oxford are dissected more than an English Six Nations campaign. Ever wondered what Cave was? Interested in Oxford’s walking society? Did you know that the Men’s Ice Hockey side has just stormed to a Cuppers victory? Whilst you may not know the answers to those questions, one thing is for certain: it’s just not cricket.
We’ll also attempt to go Stateside as we explore the lesser-known American sports. Aside from American Football, we’ll also look at the lesser known sports established over the Atlantic Ocean and their importance in Oxford.
So as the Indian Premier League begins this week and a plethora of cricketing superstars take to the field, question where the white uniforms, gentlemanly conduct and cucumber sandwiches are now. Some purists have argued that this new, money-driven format is not simply cricket.
Whilst not fully qualified to discuss whether or not that is correct, one thing which certainly isn’t cricket is a non-contact sport in which two teams compete to manoeuvre a puck across the bottom of a swimming pool whilst wearing a snorkel, mask and fins.
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