When my son got in to Oxford University one of the first observations from other family members was “Well of course you’ll be supporting Oxford in the Boat Race now.”
I was astounded! My answer was immediate and unequivocal, rejecting all their pre-suppositions and expectations of parental support: Absolutely no way! Once a Light Blue always a Light Blue!
So this Easter Day for the first time a sporting event, the 159th University Boat Race between Oxford and Cambridge, will, in our household, be followed keenly but firmly from opposite sides of the fence or River.
My son, possibly in a desperate attempt to sway me, has taken up rowing for Trinity College (the dark blue one), with accompanying mother’s-heart-strings-tugging freezing 6am starts on the Isis, punishing training schedules and extraordinary fridge-emptying food consumption. There’s even the added emotional enticement of a 2012 Olympic medal winning member of his college, Constantine Loulondis, rowing in the Oxford Boat, plus the memory of last year’s Oxford crew’s traumatic loss, which they will be desperate to rectify.
Fortunately said-son will be keeping his distance standing somewhere on the (freezing) banks of the Thames this afternoon while I will be watching in front of a warm fire. The main thing is that now he is at Oxford he completely understands my point of view.
Meanwhile, away from the sporting rivalry, I love both Oxford and Cambridge as two very beautiful, very different places to visit. And as a Blue Badge Tourist Guide qualified to take groups to Oxford, and as an Alumna of Cambridge able to take guests back there too I enjoy sharing the best of worlds…
… apart from today. Although in my heart of hearts, having now seen the work and commitment my son puts in to row at college level, I am just totally in awe of the sporting ability and dedication of both crews.
Besides, whatever the outcome in the rowing, Cambridge won the Varsity Football yesterday…