Mirror mirror on the wall, which is the fairest society of them all?
Some say that the point of journalism is to answer the questions that everybody is asking. I disagree. Sometimes you just feel like answering your own bloody question. So I thought I’d do you all a favour, and compile a serious & scientific guide to the St Andrews Sports and Societies scene. Footnotes and all. But then I realised that I only had two days, and a moderate hangover. So instead, I sent out a few emails, grabbed my most authoritative-looking notebook, and headed on out into the night to do a bit of old-fashioned investigating. So here we go: the three-header no one ever asked for. The Hockey team v Clay Pigeon v FemSoc. Sporty v Drinky v Preachy. What could possibly go wrong?
I’ll say this about the folk of FemSoc. They’re a well-intentioned bunch. The committee meeting that I tipped up to on Tuesday was the epitome of altruistic efficiency: German hospital vibes, only with fewer scary accents. Their commitment to “the cause” is commendable, and they’ve got lots of causes. There’s probably a save-the-whale campaign in Burkina Faso that these guys aren’t yet supporting, but only because they haven’t heard about it yet. From Allyship pledges to Zie pronouns, they’ve got the whole alphabet of worthy causes under their belts. And it’s not all just hot air and Instagram graphics.
They’ve really taken the old Suffragette maxim of “Deeds not words” to heart: the Patriarchy surely trembles when faced with the array of riveting activities ranging from ‘Feminist Book Club’ to ‘Febu-hairy’, and even a ‘Pub quiz with Drag Queens’ (held in 601). In fairness, I heard that the last one was actually quite good; apparently, the fact that the top prize was a tub of playdough didn’t stop it from being one of the biggest events of Re-freshers week. I could talk about some of the other tidbits that I picked up in the meeting, such as a proposed sponsorship deal with a ‘pole dancing nightclub’ in Dundee, but then I might forget to plug their current campaign, which I promised to give some column inches to. They’ve asked me to tell you, dearest Reader, to pop along down to Castle Sands to watch the committee members go for a little swim. That’s right: every day for the rest of the month, you’ll have the chance to behold the FemSoc committee frolicking in the waves. Go on. It’s for a good cause apparently.
Next up was the Hockey Club, which is basically Rugby for people who can’t grow mullets. I went to a match one afternoon, and asked a few questions. Of course, I didn’t actually stay for the game––hockey is about as fun as a festive lobotomy––but that wasn’t a problem, because that’s what the players said as well. I’ve got to hand it to them: the St Andrews 3rd Team don’t operate under any illusions of grandeur. Languishing in the depths of Scotland’s lowest league, they seemed fairly resigned to their fate (in this case a 3-0 loss to Dundee). One redoubtable chap, when asked about the team’s odds replied, “We’re a pint or so in, so what do you expect?”––a statement which was belatedly rebutted by the Club’s Wellbeing Officer, who upon being prodded said, “We don’t condone this behaviour. I don’t know him.” I’d be inclined to believe him if they weren’t all standing so close together. It’s whispered that the hockey lads get rather boisterous in their famed 7:29 BrewCo socials, although the lads assured me that it’s just the 1st Team who do that.
Anyway, next up was Clay Pigeon, who are, in a nutshell, a bunch of alcoholics who like to fondle shotguns. At least that’s what I assume––I only went to dinner (no visible guns) and the room went suspiciously quiet whenever I asked anything about actual shooting. No one seemed to know much about that. What they are good at is drinking. I’m still not quite sure why a bloke was crawling under the tables for nearly an hour, or how one girl ended up losing half a pint of blood, but I’ll take the Guardian's approach and just blame it on private education. That did appear to be a unifying theme amongst most of the people there. The next morning, I asked one fellow newcomer (state-educated and female) what she thought about this, but I didn’t get much of an answer. “Pretty banging but I got a concussion” answers several questions, but not that one. I’ve probably bigged them up too much actually––I think they quite like to lean into the reputation that they’ve got for themselves, although it’s quite hard to make up that they took a hunting horn to Sinners.
Now I’m afraid if you’re waiting for a definitive ranking, you’re going to be disappointed. The hockey lot would bludgeon me to death, the Clay lot would shoot me, and the feminists would probably also shoot me. But I do know who the losers are. Quidditch––why did you bastards ghost me? Can you really only read stuff written by Saint J K? Get back to me before the next issue, or I’ll have to tell everyone exactly how you keep the ends of your broomsticks so nice and shiny…
Image: Wikimedia Commons