There is a wealth of sports options to choose from when coming to Oxford. Whether you are a seasoned athlete looking to earn a ‘Blue’ (University level team award) or want a more relaxed leisure activity, University and College sports societies and facilities cater for all abilities and commitment levels.
College sport is a great way to stay fit and healthy, and socialise (when asked, always say yes to a crew-date!). College sport also keeps up the all-important inter-collegiate rivalry.
You can sign up for college sports at the John’s Freshers’ Fair in Freshers’ Week. Don’t worry if you miss out on joining a given club during the week as the various captains will be more than happy to have you join at any point in the year. All abilities are welcome in every club!
College Sports Facilities
Within the college grounds we have:
- Two air-conditioned gyms
- An “erg” room (with rowing machines)
- Games room with a pool table and dart board
- An outdoor table-tennis table and a table tennis room
- Two squash courts
- A Croquet Lawn (in St Giles House garden)
The “Fortress” (College sports ground) on Woodstock Road has:
- Netball/tennis courts
- A football/rugby pitch
- A cricket pitch
- A croquet lawn
- The Clubhouse
The College Boat House is on Boat House Island on the Isis, about fifteen minutes away from college. It has a mixed array of eights, fours, and pairs, including several empachers and stämpflis. If you start rowing, you’ll soon find out what these are for!
During Trinity Term, the JCR also offers a Punt Club card which allows access to around 3 punts from two boathouses in Oxford. Typically, a card costs £12 but this is much better value than renting the punts by yourself!
Oxford University Facilities
The Iffley Road Sports Complex is the University’s main sports facility. It includes a climbing wall, swimming pool, athletics track and other facilities, racket sports and handball courts, power-lifting room, tank room, astroturf pitch, and a range for the Oxford University Pistol Club!
College Sports Teams
Sport is a large part of college life here at St John’s and all college sports are represented at the annual (free!) College Sports Dinner. All sports are free to play with the exception of zumba, where you pay per class (only £2) as there is an external teacher.
College teams include:
- Football (men’s and women’s)
- Ultimate frisbee
- Mixed tag rugby
- Mixed lacrosse
- Rugby (men’s and women’s)
However, no ‘Sport’ section in an Oxford guide would be complete without mentioning rowing. St John’s Boat Club do a fantastic job of training up all the novices from scratch. The Rowing Club offers erg sessions, land fitness training and most mornings you’ll find a John’s crew sitting at breakfast already having rowed several kilometres! Each term has a rowing regatta, with the first term’s regatta being limited to novices only.
University wide there is a vast range of sports, from water polo to pentathlon, fencing to sailing. If you want to try something new, University is definitely the place to do it! The highlight of the University teams’ fixture is the annual Varsity match: Oxford versus Cambridge! This is always a strongly-fought, competitive and highly-spirited battle, and acts as a good climax to each team’s respective seasons. Don’t be surprised when you hear the phrase “Shoe the Tabs!” yelled at the opposition!
Representing Oxford University in your chosen team provides the opportunity to earn a ‘Blue’, a highly prestigious recognition of your sporting achievements from the University. St John’s also provide a ‘Blue’s Grant’ to help cover the cost of University kit/other expenses relating to your sport. Playing for and training with a ‘Blues’ team is a great way of meeting people from other colleges.
Most University teams have ‘development squads’, which enable you to train with the main squad, even if you are not quite of University standard just yet. Essentially, whatever your level, the combination of University and St John’s College teams cater for all. Even if you’ve never done any sport at all, we strongly urge you to consider trying something, even if it’s just a means to meet new people!