Photo: De Montfort Students' Union

Photo: De Montfort Students’ Union

An Australian study published in February, in the International Review for the Sociology of Sport, explored how sport helps people socialise. Community sport organisations, just like University sports clubs, are often “credited with helping improve a range of social benefits and outcomes,” which definitely comes as no surprise.

Examples in the study of how sport helps society included: “community building; reducing crime and youth delinquency; empowering disadvantaged groups; improving confidence and self-esteem; and increasing social integration and cooperation.” Quite an achievement and the stuff of Politicians’ dreams.

The study measured ‘social connectedness’ by putting a scale to how people felt. Almost identical to the format of the National Student Survey final years fill in; for example choosing number 1 for ‘I feel disconnected from the world around me,’ participants had a scale of 1 to 6. Hopefully no one went down the list only circling number 4.

Sport is a major industry and is so varied that everyone must have played some sort of sport in their life. It is an integral part of school life and is encouraged, more so now than ever, as part of a healthy lifestyle.

There are countless health benefits, in both the short term and long term.  It can reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes and even cancers by up to fifty percent, according to the NHS. There are all sorts of guidelines advising what types of exercise and how much exercise is beneficial, but one thing is certain; sport makes it more enjoyable and therefore people are more likely to do the physical activity.

The idea of sport has been around for thousands of years and, it can be argued, even longer. I am sure cave men and women must have kept themselves entertained through sport, maybe by throwing coconuts or racing woolly mammoths.

Sport is defined as ‘an activity involving physical exertion and skill in which an individual or team competes against another or others for entertainment.’ It is in human nature to be competitive, with the notion of ‘survival of the fittest’ firmly embedded into our genes.

Whether it is World Cups, Olympics or the local football team’s weekend fixture, playing competitively and watching competitively is a well enjoyed past-time of many people. University is no exception.

In fact, with the vast amount of teams at DMU from Football to Fencing to Frisbee, sport is very much an integral part of many students’ time here. This ends with the highlight of DMU’s sporting year, you guessed it: Varsity.

Varsity combines the sport, the competitiveness and the spectator aspects all wrapped up in a lovely De Montfort University community bow that every single student here is a part of. It does not matter if you are not part of an individual sports team, just turning up to fixtures and supporting DMU makes you a part of the team: Team DMU.

Narmeen Kamran, Sports Editor, said: “Varsity is the time of the year that all sports teams put their rivalries aside and focus on the bigger picture that is uniting to defeat our neighbours down The road.”

Whether you are getting your heart rate up by chasing a ball or cheering at the top of your lungs, it is all worthwhile for your health and well-being. So to all the DMU sports teams, good luck: work hard, play harder and make sure you have fun (win).