(Ed: As a letter to the editor, this article has been published unedited)
Another year, another Colours Ball, another range of emotions. Surely there are few things in Royal Holloway’s repertoire which is more contradictory than the Colours Ball? For a ceremony designed to celebrate Holloway’s finest sportsmen and women and their achievements with their respective clubs, why is it so largely dictated by paperwork and statistics? Why are some clubs told to be selective over their nominees, because “Colours aren’t for everyone”, and yet some clubs are allowed to nominate their second team players? Whatever happened to celebrating the finest sportsmen when you don’t even have to be in the best team to get them?
Let’s deal with the glaring error and central cause for complaint that I heard at every single Colours Ball. How can you discriminate amongst team mates and award such ‘prestigious’ awards when at least nine times out of ten the committee is solely working from paperwork? They’ve never watched them in an objective manner, they are dealing solely on the principle of the paperwork they have in front of them.
The people who write these nominations are encouraged to stick to the criteria if they want their candidates to be successful. Excuse me? I appreciate that the criteria is confirmed with each club year to year, but the best way of making sure our team mates get the awards they deserve is down to how well someone fills in the paperwork. Not due to their brilliance on pitch, as witnessed by a concerned judging panel, not by a steady improvement in their training to be the athlete that they are to deserve the award, but by how well some paperwork demonstrates this. With the greatest respect, this is an awards ceremony allegedly about sporting success and brilliance. What it appears to have become is a glorified comprehension exercise played out in front of students who have paid £40 for the privilege of witnessing it.
The next issue that revolves around colours ball may have something to do with commercialism. To use one example of a club that is allowed to put second team players forward for nomination, netball. Ignoring the already ludicrous notion that a second team player deserves colours for their sporting talent than a first team player, let’s consider the numbers. Netball sides have seven people in them. Limiting the nominations to 1st XI only would limit the possible nominees to approximately that number. Even in their most ambitious nature, they could only put forward around seven people. So you’d assume that these seven, plus a few others from the club, would go to Colours Ball. By including the second team in the potential colours, you’ve doubled the number of people able to receive nominations, and also the number of people likely to attend because of their nomination. Already this is beginning to sniff of a financial incentive as opposed to sporting excellence.
Finally, I understand there was a mix up in the invitations and awards this year. I think Cheerleading got confused with the Societies Ball. The Zumba Dance Club was most upset they didn’t have anyone to sit next to.
A Mildly Disgruntled Alumni