After two long semesters, and spent from their exertions during Varsity, members of De Montfort Students’ Union (DSU)’s sports teams could have been forgiven for counting down the days to the Easter break.
For some it represented a chance to grab a much-needed few days’ rest at home, or simply to catch-up on work but, for many, it meant only one thing. Tour.
Our clubs jetted off to various destinations across Europe, keen to leave the stress of uni at home for a week, let down their hair with their friends and, all importantly for team spirit, become closer as a result.
Beth Durham is a member of DMU Netball, and this year she took on the mantle of club tour chair, meaning that along with her vice-chair, Lucy Tinker, she was responsible for organising a trip to Porec in Croatia for 18 people.
Beth, a third-year Health Studies student, said: “It was different to Salou last year as no-one had ever been [to Porec] before, which was quite nice as we were exploring quite a lot.
“Every day there were pool parties at the hotel, and we went out for lunch every day, walked around the town and got familiar with it, and there was a beach that we went to as well.”
In addition to ensuring everyone enjoyed themselves, as tour chair, Beth was conscious of using the trip to help both playing and non-playing members – first-years and experienced hands alike – become closer.
She said: “[Tour] is good, especially for netball because we’ve got quite a lot of social members.
“A lot of the girls know each other but are not really close, as if you’re a social member you don’t get to know the people on the teams as much. So when we designed the rooms we kept that in mind and tried to put people with people they’re not that familiar with so they got to know each other better.
“It really worked and now, even myself, I’ve got to know a lot of the first years and I’m really good friends with them.
“They all told me they had a really good time, and it was a lot better than what they expected.”
Meanwhile, Joe Nunn is a third-year Architecture student and vice-chair of men’s rugby. He also travelled to Croatia on his club’s tour – the third one he has been on – along with 19 other members of the squad – and said that the tour helped them get to know each other better.
He said: “Everyone got to know each other a lot better, and everyone got along, coming back better mates than when they left.”
Paige Caldeira, chair of women’s basketball team the DMU Pitbulls, said: “It was really fun. We spent a day playing sporting fixtures. There were also pool parties during the afternoons and we would have the usual socials in the evening and head out to a few clubs at night.
“Both the old girls and Freshers enjoyed every moment out there. Our team was already quite strong together in terms of bonding but it definitely brought the old girls closer to the Freshers.”
Paige, a third-year Journalism and Creative Writing student, added: “Tour is definitely one of the greatest university experiences and is a great way to bond and meet other sports societies whether they are from DMU or any other university.
“It is also a great stress reliever from university life as well as playing in BUCS fixtures and also from the stress of Varsity.
“It is a great way to end the sporting year.”
To find out more about being part of a sports team through DSU, click here.