Wide World of Weird Sports

Friday, 20 March, 2015

Photography by Michael Murphy.

I’ve never been good at sport, especially team sports where my incompetence lets down an entire team as well as myself. Due to this complete inability, I never sought out to join a sports club at the university. Much to my surprise there are more clubs than I could have imagined, with sports I’d never even heard of. Here are some of the lesser known sports clubs at the University of Melbourne.

Cheerleading. This American sport has a growing popularity in Australia. What was once side entertainment has moved on to take centre stage, with university cheerleading competitions being held annually. The university has seven competitive teams as well as a recreational team. Fancy a way to combine gymnastics, dance and team spirit? Bring it on.

Dancesport. If cheerleading it too mainstream for you, why not try Dancesport? At the club, you have a variety of dance styles to choose from, including but not limited to K-Pop, Latin, Hip-Hop and Ballroom. Impress your friends and family by breaking out into an impromptu dance at any moment.

Kendo. Kendo is an ancient Japanese martial art, its primary goal being to discipline the human character. If the promise of self-betterment isn’t enough of a drawcard , bear in mind that practicing Kendo entails fighting people with bamboo swords whilst wearing a suit of armour,. That’s pretty damn cool.

Rowing. If you’ve always wanted to get into rowing but didn’t go to an elite school, this is your chance! The Melbourne University Boat Club, established in 1859, is the oldest rowing club in Australia. Despite counting many Olympians among its ranks, people of all rowing abilities are invited to join. And even if you have zero ability, fear not! You can be the coxswain, who sits in the boat and verbally steer and motivate the crew.

Waterskiing and wakeboarding. Waterskiing is like regular skiing but hurts less when you fall over. Wakeboarding involves being towed behind a boat. Due to the lack of a large body of water at the university, the Waterskiing and Wakeboarding Club offers trips to lakes and rivers to practice skiing. My uncle was president of this club in the ’70s, which gives me a weird affinity for it.