Could Recreational Sport in the UK take a leaf from the ‘Student Athlete’?

TAKING a look at ESPN on a typical evening is the allure of American College Sport, a big showcase occasion ruffling feathers in a different way.

It is refreshing, exciting and actively 21st century. The frenzied atmosphere with the likes of Iowa State, Syracause, North Carolina and San Francisco make it a playground of a fantasy in front of 40,000 people. Apart from the World Student games or other forms of junior athletic sport events that carer to large crowds in stadia, there is nothing particularly like it in the world in an internet consumed society apart from the sport of earth’s events in life itself such as the eruption of a Volcano or the battle of traditional village games dating back to medieval times.


It has to be experienced for itself but for a consumer’s point of view, the adverts and indeed the culture centred on the lives of the student-athlete is a sense of stardom where the United Kingdom is almost certainly becoming America within its instant gratification. The book ‘Bright Lights’ by H Bissinger centred around the Texan town of Odesse in 1988, the book focusing on an American Football team in a town, a real example of the winner could be seen as recreational but actively played a part in the lives of all the towns.

The Student Athlete experience is so intense because of the consistent amount of repetition in training but equally a competitive fixture list operating over a season. The enjoyment is to be had as the identity. The identity almost gained by kicking a ball round the backyard around another equal part.

It is an occasion and could actively been seen as sick. While the American’s celebrate sport as an occasion, a real event, in the UK student sport or indeed recreational sport for adults is seen as a regular pastime rather than an event of any significance or occasion. Both aspects of cultures are similar in the sense that careers could end at 21 years old depending on a basis of talent, luck and precision but equally also dedication and determination.

In this case of exploration, however the Student-athlete experience also dissipates a certain sense of warrior spirit, and a wide varied atmosphere of recreational fun opportunities to improve talent. The main example of course for this is to purposefully prepare for other identities but how could it improve recreational opportunities in the UK?

From a recreational point, in In the UK, the allure of young adult recreation was arguably the split between Football and Rugby Union in the 1800’s. It was born out of the Public Schools where the split occurred at Cambridge with ex-students including of Charterhouse and Eton.
But where is the recreational opportunity lie in touch with a competitive emphasis placed in America in contrast to a wet pitch in the UK?

Recreational Running

Park Run in Britain has been the finest recreational opportunities in the United Kingdom within the last ten years. It has extended across all over the globe and is one of the first of a start-up of its kind. The event on a Saturday morning in any particular regional sector brings 600 – 1,000 people out of bed for competitive or recreational opportunity.
Athlete runners can use this board to meet up with new runners but equally also use it as a springboard for improving 5k times.
It has a real community approach where most recreational sport clubs in the UK outside of the Education system applied by Government agencies, has a real community spirit. For example, the likes of Tennis and even niche sport such as Badminton and Squash are almost not applicable to beginners because of the exclusivity and equally the lifestyle that applies an element of membership in an era which dates back to an arguably divisive different time of working lifestyle. Fun is required at the absolute most.

The Student Athlete approach almost relates to a work hard, play hard approach but equally driving a particular athlete to become good at every identity in each aspect of life in a developmental capacity. However the particular type of athlete is almost relational in the idea of ‘opportunity’ which can be applied to recreational sport. Opportunity means opportunity for young adults to play sport but equally a community approach that reward can be met with a good type of camaraderie and fun almost in the particular aspects of childhood.

Recent initiatives where Parkrun promotes include the Peoples Cup by the FA and the BBC which will encourage roughly 140,000 people across the UK to form a 5-a side to compete in a national tournament to end up at Wembley Stadium. Such initiative is an incredible idea and one that could easily be exploited and is something that Adult Football has been crying out for years. The other aspect is Start-ups.

Start-up Communities

Start-ups are taking of all over the World yet remarkably they have been barely reported in the national press. It is almost incredibly similar to the student athletic community of teamwork and togetherness and could even be mistaken for a replica. It is a hard work approach driven by enthusiasm. They are the future of sport as we know it and the ability to make profit from the consumer driven society will continue within a mobile phone app. However it will be the community of people that drive these apps to get people together to play sport that will shift people of all ages back into recreational playing for the enjoyment and purpose shifting in a way that will be attractive in the interpretation as we know it but profitably targeted in a sales capacity.

This is the positive aspect but because we are still in the early days of the internet actually taking power from the norms. There has been a decrease in the number of teams playing on weekends in particular sports run by Councils but it is important to recognise that with costs increasing, the app/start-up market offers a privatisation born out of the economic downturn at the end of the 2000’s that will form a particular new way. It is not merely evolution but it could be just different.


In Britain alone, it is maybe seen that recreational sport as the pastime for a survey wave of television repeats and traditional times of a windswept curve. With a combination of sociology, trend and initiative, recreational sport will go on the up again.