BY JACK BLYTH
Nothing brings people closer together than sport.
It’s a gigantic statement to make, but it’s more fact than fiction. No matter the circumstance, over the course of time, when faced with some sort of competition, people band together. They find a common goal, and allow it to bond them as one.
Whether it be a nation standing side by side to support their country in a World Cup, or a handful of old blokes in a 4th grade soccer comp, sport is a common thread that engulfs us in the concept of ‘a team’.
Charles Sturt University Bathurst has an array of sporting clubs with hundreds of students signed up to one team or another, a simplistic method of bringing people from all walks of life into one tightknit unit.
Being a rural campus, CSU Bathurst has students from all over the country on campus. From Nyngan to Newcastle, Tasmania to Taree, Cairns to Kelso, and everywhere inbetween, students, mostly in their late teens or early twenties, packing up their lives to study here – Bathurst.
With most arriving in the Central West without a single known friend by their side, making acquaintances quick is quintessential in the university culture, and while living on campus is a great first step, sport is a beast that draws people together undoubtedly.
Walking out onto a field and knowing that every single person donning the same jersey as you is willing to spill their bloody, sweat and tears for you and for the team is uplifting, and makes you want to do the same for them.
This is why sport in university is incredibly important.
CSUFC, the university’s soccer club, has over 150 registered players, split between nine teams- four women, five men – and will host their Old Boys day this weekend, much to the delight of former players.
“Yeah it’s exciting, catching up with the old boys that we haven’t seen in a few years, catch a few games of soccer. I can’t wait” said former 4th grade striker, Ben Neely.
The soccer club isn’t the only CSU side with a huge weekend in front of them – with all three of CSU’s rugby league sides to feature in the New Era Cup Grand Finals on Saturday.
The two women’s teams, the Mungals, will face off against each other in the monumental clash guaranteed to see the university claim some silverware. Meanwhile the men’s team, the Mungoes, will take on the undefeated Blackheath outfit in a bid to avenge last year’s Grand Final loss.
While Blackheath are short priced favourites to lift the trophy, the Mungoes have shown they can match it with the ladder leaders, defeating them in a pre-season tournament before falling to lossless outfit 26-16 in Round 6 – Blackheath’s closest game of the season.
While only a handful of players will have the opportunity to run out onto park, the club has organised buses to take students and supporters alike down to Blackheath to cheer the team, another symbol of togetherness that the sporting world offers.
While lifting trophies and scoring goals is sure to be a lucrative attraction when joining any sport, Ben Neely knows there is more to it than just on field results.
“It helps uni students to be themselves and make friends with other university students”.
As assignments and exams begin to drain students and induce stress, sport is a much needed escape from the pressures of scoring high marks, and give young adults the chance to let their hair down and flourish in a team environment, build their social network and grown into their new home away from home, CSU Bathurst.
Main image: CSU Football Club Facebook.