Salient. An organ of student opinion at Victoria University, Wellington. Vol. 23. No. 7. Monday, August 8, 1960.
Athletic Club Speaks
Athletic Club Speaks
Sir,—I fear I must lake up cudgels and reply to your ill-informed and biassed correspondent B.G.R. who attacks University athletics in your most recent issue. There are so many false and emotionally coloured statements in his article, I am surprised it passed any sort of editorial scrutiny, the facts being quite readily available to any interested persons.
I will select a few glaring points and elaborate on them.
Firstly, B.G.R. states that fresher athletes are compelled to sell out their old clubs. Who does the compelling? I would also at this point take umbrage at his statement that these self-same clubs have coached them for several seasons. Regrettably, this simply is not the case. Most young athletes today are forced to coach themselves.
Secondly. B.G.R.'s four reasons for the fact the Varsity Athletic Club has little to offer the athlete are, quite simply, wrong.
It is in these four reasons his biassed attitude is most apparent. Point by point, then—
1. The club has more time to itself over the long vacation, not having exams to worry about.
2. Students also come to Wellington during vacation.
3. Granted coaching is non-existent, as such, being limited to friendly criticism between athletes, but facilities can hardly be said to be non-existent, although they are not what we' would like them to be.
4. B.G.R.'s fourth reason Is quite inflammatory. No one with any idea of the club's function over the vacation could have written this unless he had a really blunt axe to grind. In my humble opinion, the club had the most highly developed social life of Wellington clubs, numbering a weekend trip to Hastings, day-tramps, barbecues, parties, etc., amongst its many activities, not to say being the second strongest men's athletic club in Wellington
I continue. Again he uses the word "compelled" and, incidentally, most Varsity athletes, on returning home, want to compete for the local University.
Next glaring point is a quite extraordinary statement with an unfathomable meaning. However, perhaps the bods have not permitted me a deep insight into such mysteries of nature. I quote:
"The Varsity clubs are not interested in athletics as a whole or in Varsity athletics." Your guess is as good as mine.
And what is this passage concerning the regularity or otherwise of Varsity competition during the summer all about? Surely B.G.R. realizes we have a club night, and turn out on Saturdays as most other self-respecting athletic clubs do.
I frankly confess I am at a loss to determine why B.G.R. should page 6write such an article, unless he is one who feels he should be able to enjoy Tournament without the nuisance of belonging to one of the constituent clubs of the University.
As a footnote, may I add that Varsity clubs are for Varsity stuents interested in Varsity activities. I remain,
—B. P. Dawkins,
V.U.W. Athletic Club.
Reply from B.G.R.
Take umbrage if you like B.P.D. and at the same time read the article again and try and understand it. You do not contest the main points at all but concern yourself with the minor points, which if removed, would affect the main issues very little. Therefore it's left to infer that you agree in the main but see something wrong with a few points.
Your first point of confusion is "that fresher athletes are compelled to join the Varsity Club." This Is true if the athlete wishes to compete at tournaments after his fresher year. Not being an athlete who competes throughout the entire season in Wellington you are then not conversant with the coaching situation here. Most young athletes of non-Varsity clubs Can get coaching at their clubs.
Then you state that B.G.R. has a biased attitude but fail to qualify this "point by point." 1. In the long vacation many Varsity students are pre-occupied with earning money. 2. You agree with the original statement and add little of significance. 3. Again you agree. 4. If your club spirit is so high where is the resulting effect on the track? There are a few hardy individuals, and three or four women and one or two juniors. There must be a multitude of hangers-on at the club's "highly developed social life."
As Hon. Secretary of the Athletic Club you know very little about its attainments last season. It Is nowhere near the second best men's club in Wellington. In the Dewar Shield—which is the test of club strength—Victoria came nowhere; and where are the women placed in their competition?
"The Varsity Club is not interested on athletics as a whole …" This statement stands unmarred by your criticism.
(See also this page)