At RGU we have students and staff from all over the world. They bring with them not just a rich diversity of cultures, but also a world of varied sporting interests. The university, naturally, has thriving sports clubs of all shapes and sizes, as well as the superb RGU Sports facility, with its swimming pool, climbing wall, three gymnasiums and fitness classes (for all shapes and sizes!).
Moreover, if you’re into sports in a big way then there is far, far more to enjoy in Aberdeen and the north-east. Quite often our newer members of staff are slightly surprised to find that, contrary to expectations, there are opportunities to play almost every type of sport here! And as with the rest of the UK, the sporting year is partly governed by the seasons, with the traditional pastimes of golf (naturally in Scotland!) and cricket (yes, cricket in Scotland – of which more below) in summer and rugby and football during the rest of the year.
This blog is by way of an introduction to the immense richness of sporting activities available in Aberdeen: over the next year we’ll consider some of the more interesting and unusual sports and the teams that play them. However, no matter what your interest is, whether it’s ball games, athletics or equestrianism, we’re confident you’ll find something you currently enjoy and equally confident you’ll find something else you’ll want to explore.
Given that the summer is fading, let’s return to the aforementioned game of cricket and its popularity in Scotland. Many people believe that it’s a quintessentially English game ignored by Scots who prefer football every day of the week. In fact, cricket has a very long and honourable history in Scotland and Aberdeen Cricket Association (1884) and the oldest cricket clubs in the city, such as Aberdeenshire Cricket Club (1857), are far older than Aberdeen FC (1903). During the summer, thousands of people will play cricket all over Aberdeen and Scotland and Aberdeenshire Cricket Club were the Scottish National Champions in 2014.
OK, you may not be surprised to find cricket played here, but how about another “English” sport, again associated mainly with the summer months, namely croquet? If you’ve never played it, then why not combine your new career with RGU with learning the rules of this extremely exacting (and great fun to play) game. Aberdeen and Crathes Croquet Club currently has 40 members (including a three-times Scottish champion) and plays at Ferryhill in the city and at Crathes Castle near Banchory in Royal Deeside.
We hope that’s whetted your appetite. Next time we look at the sporting north-east we’ll consider the popularity of the Dons (not our academics – even though they are pretty popular, but the local Premiership football team) as well as another ‘minority’ sport or two that might just tempt you to take up a new interest!
Jenny Connon, HR Co-ordinator (and active sports enthusiast), RGU