From Ben Lairig to Capoeira: Beyond York’s more mainstream sports

York is not somewhere where you can play only the standard sports. From Aikido to Volleyball there is a veritable smorgasbord of sports you can get involved with; here we look at some of the more interesting

Canoe Polo is one of York's most popular minority sports and gathered quite a crowd at Roses 2010. Image credit: Sam Newsome

Canoe Polo is one of York's most popular minority sports and gathered quite a crowd at Roses 2010. Image credit: Sam Newsome

York is not somewhere where you can play only the standard sports. From Aikido to Volleyball there is a veritable smorgasbord of sports you can get involved with; here we look at some of the more interesting.

Ben Lairig might sound like the slightly odd kid you sat next to in Maths but it is actually a sport, and a rather good one at that. It might not get the headlines on the back pages but if mountain walking is your thing then this is the sport for you. Often at university it can all get a bit much; your work might be getting on top of you, maybe your friends are being a bit too loud or perhaps you’re desperately fighting to reach a deadline? If so, why not get away from the 1960s architecture of the Uni and head for the hills.

Another different sport to throw yourself into, literally, is Capoeira. A martial art with its roots in South America instead of the more traditional Far East fusing music and acrobatics to create a unique performance. Imagine going back at Christmas to tell your Grandparents that you have taken up Capoeira, you know that while they won’t know what you’re on about they will still be very impressed, and if for some reason they decide to attack you, you will be able to protect yourself.

Octopush is not just the word that Sean Connery uses for eight-legged cephalopod molluscs, it is also a sport that is similar to hockey, but played underwater. It is fairly well established in the UK with the 52nd National Club Championships taking place this year. No previous experience is required and it is, by all accounts, great fun. If you fancy the new sport on the block then why not try Powerlifting? For the first time this year it is a YUSU ratified sports club so to celebrate you can deadlift, bench press or squat lift your way to muscledom. You don’t need to turn up looking like a stunt double from The Expendables and it is, of course, very good for sculpting those guns.

You may read this and wonder if there’s any point to taking up a sport that is so different from the norm. But in terms of life experience how valuable it is to do something completely different. Every Frank, Wayne or Steve can play football but there aren’t many people that can point to an experience in Octopush.

So there are just a few slightly different sports that might tickle your fancy if you want a change from the obvious. When you’re sixty years old and someone asks you whether you remember much about your time at university it won’t be the games that you already excelled in that you will remember, it will be the time you had a go at Capoeira that will stick out, so why not give it go? After university you will probably never get the same chances again, so seize the opportunity.

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