Image Courtesy of Inquire Media
This afternoon I decided to go to the gym. This in itself is not particularly novel to me, and I was heading to campus for a seminar any
way. So, alongside my battered notebook and chewed pen, I brought along a change of shirt, my trainers, and a bottle of deodorant (Sure Men Invisible Ice for those curious). After struggling through two hours of gruelling debate on the merits of neoliberalism, I was ready to ‘pump some iron’ with some of Kent’s fellow men of steel. You know, the guys with bodies like Michelangelo’s ‘David’ who throw their weights to the floor in the pit and grunt like they have haemorrhoids.
Image courtesy of Kent Sport
I made my way over to the sports centre, signed into the ‘fitness suite’ on the one working machine, scanned my card at the turnstiles, scanned my card again, and went off to get changed. I emerged, moments later, and after doing battle with the second set of turnstiles (surely, it is not just me?) entered a gym that resembled a Unibus at 5 past the hour. Bodies everywhere. Clearly, everyone was still hot on their new year’s revolution, and desperate to try out the new gym where they had got for Christmas. I did a quick lap, and realised I was left with two choices; join the queue of people on the stairs waiting for a platform, or head home via essentials to grab a hotdog.
Fast forward 5 minutes, I had finished the hotdog.
Luckily, I am a sports scholar. Once a week, I get a little roped off area away from the Henry Cavill wannabes and the Game of Thrones extras, and a chance to use the gym with the best people in at the sports centre – Gavin, Chris, and Ben. For those unfamiliar with the staff at Kent Sport, these three guys make up part of the team of instructors, and they spend part of their days working with UKC’s scholars. At risk of sounding like some sort of shill, they are brilliant. The knowledge they have when it comes to personal training, and their willingness to share it, is unmatched, as is their ability to keep you pushing your limits.
The scholarship scheme has its limitations. There is still not enough focus on rehabilitation or injury prevention, nor how to develop and maintain a competitive mentality, and it seems to overlook the fact that high-performance athletes (myself not included) are at serious risk of mental health issues, but for anyone who is pushing on in their sport and looking at taking the next step, the best thing you can do is apply to be a sports scholar. Or make friends with Gavin – just follow the sound of raucous laughter and you will find him.