University boat race: Who actually cares?

The university boat race is a pointless TV spectacle

There are many events on the annual UK sporting calendar. But the Oxford vs Cambridge university boat race strikes me as one with little point or relevance.

It’s hard to watch anything involving these two ‘elite’ universities. These institutions have spawned a huge percentage of the useless politicians in the UK.

On the face of it there seems little relevance giving it so much prominence. The BBC still shows it as the rest of live sport has gone elsewhere. No doubt there will come a time when this toffs’ race is the last thing standing.

It’s been going for umpteen years. As viewers we get a full-on posh fest, headed up by Claire Balding (Cambridge alumni) with a gaggle of ra-ra-ra’s telling us who is going to win. Let’s face it, the race is never that exciting unless there is terrible weather and the threat of a team sinking.

Don’t get me wrong, I like watching Team GB rowing in the Olympics. But portraying the university boat race as anything bigger than winning bragging rights from Little Lord Fauntleroy when you pass in the corridors of power is daft. It simply does not matter to the majority of the British public. They have no affinity with it. The country should really move on.

There are other universities

You are forgiven in the UK for thinking no other university does rowing. Apparently they do. I’d much rather watch a couple of teams from universities where those taking part hadn’t had a giant leg up in life.

A central reason for showing it probably lies in the BBC being an instituion also steeped in elitism. The boat race encapsulates much of the deep-rooted class divides that continue to prevail in the highest echelons of British life. Considering less than 1% go to these universities, why show them and ignore others?

With the axing of the US Masters highlights on terrestial TV, the death knell has already been brought down on golf. Time to do the same with this pointless junket.

Image by myungho lee from Pixabay

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