MY dad didn’t have much time for the rowing team during his years at Oxford University.
Apparently there was considerable resentment among much of the student body over the disproportionate amount of their union subs going into preparing eight chaps for the annual Boat Race.
While other sporting departments had to make do with scraps, the rowers were treated like lords and given prime steak when the rest were still on post-war rationing.
Grudges may have been harboured and complaints made more recently too about creeping professionalism, “mature” students being allowed by both universities to string their courses out for up to 10 years in order for their sporting talents to be deployed for longer than would otherwise be possible.
None of this stopped Dad from wanting his team to put one over on Cambridge at that peculiar annual regatta though.
And it would never have crossed his or anyone else’s mind to try to sabotage the spectacle either out of resentment of the privileged few on the home team or in order to spike the opposition.
Sadly not everyone appears able to contain such urges. Self-styled urban guerrilla Trenton Oldfield proudly smirked as he was led away from last Saturday’s contest after wrecking it for an audience of millions.
He has already trumpeted his reasons (both before and after being charged with a public order offence) saying he was making an “anti-elitist” protest.
This was not the time nor place for airing such views to which he is perfectly entitled. As far as I see it Oldfield only managed to wreck months of preparation and gruelling training for the sportsmen, winning them great sympathy and making himself look a grade A prat.