As a participant in numerous sports at York since arriving, meeting with Isaac Beevor, our current Sport president for the next academic year, felt like an opportunity to better understand the priorities of the representative for one of my most cherished experiences during my time at York.
Isaac himself has being a involved in a variety of sports during his 3 years as a student; Football, Table tennis and Rounders to name a few, and acknowledges the challenges of a university hosting as many college sports as York (Currently at 66). He participates in numerous committees; placing his “Give it a go” initiative and “Equal Opportunities” campaigns as something of a centrepiece in the manifesto of the incumbent Sport President. Achieving greater “closeness” with the college sport’s organisation was a priority; student refereeing of college competitions has its limitations when compared to the standards of hired referees at many University matches. Unfortunately, these sort of improvements rely heavily on student participation. There is an impression with York Sport that changes are almost exclusively grass roots, in that an organic, student-formulated motion is possibly the most effective way to trigger improvements that the YUSU budget may not be as capable of.
This year has a special significance for many sportsmen and women at York; namely the return of the hotly anticipated Roses Tournament. Isaac confirmed his commitment to improve the accessibility of sports that will be included in the tournament. Open sessions and a tiered system of difficulty in competitions has allowed York to remain a place in which a student can pick up and eventually master a new sport from a base level. Isaac himself maintains; “The best aspect of sport for me is the community it can foster.” We discussed the possibility of including new sports in the tournament, those that students at York might feel are under-represented or un-catered for in terms of competitive opportunity over recreational. Isaac’s answer was simple enough; “If we can, we will”. He hopes for and plans to make greater strides in appealing to the non-participating students; the goal being to draw significant crowds which in turn can aid in the production of a special atmosphere for the University come the summer term. “*As big as possible” is this year’s mantra for the 2017 Roses tournament.
I raised the issue of gym membership pricing, which has risen yet again this term, as it has in consecutive years previously. Isaac was quick to mention the offers of long-term membership deals, such as the 12 months for the price of 10 currently on offer to students. Unfortunately, students themselves are ultimately responsible for challenging these rises; Isaac being a mouthpiece for those concerns when legitimately supported. He values the “good relationship” between himself and the York Sport team who, among other essential roles, set those membership fees but acknowledged the “serious discussions” that were had over rises such as those that occurred over the summer.
A few months into the job and Isaac seemed settled into his new role. His tenure is one that prioritises access and community, facets which are positive and in line with the beneficial sociability that York Sport brings to many students. As with the nature of many college sports, the participation of students will be essential to Isaac’s high hopes for this year’s Roses, and the future of York’s Sport for the year ahead.