Why house sport competitions matter

10th December 2018
BY Oliver Hall (pupil)

From the moment a boy joins Winchester College, they are able to get involved in house competitions. One boy remarked that this was the main reason he was so competitive, ‘In my second week, I was part of a house football competition, and just days after that the first-year inter-house cross-country race.  For me, those events instilled a desire to give everything I had each time I represented my house. I have taken that spirit with me throughout my time here.’

For many at Winchester, house competitions offer a unique opportunity for competition at all levels. Whether it’s in golf or water polo, every result is greeted with rapturous applause during announcements in-house.  Nowhere else in the school will you see such a high level of commitment than on the football field during the senior house match (known as Chawker Pot) or at the inter-house swimming competition. But why is house sport so enthralling for all those involved, as well as those spectating?

‘Chawker Pot is in the walls of Beloes’ - this quote from a team huddle before a house football game really sums up the view among boys at Winchester. Groups of boys are bound together by an inexplicable force, known as ‘house spirit’. From what I hear from friends at other schools, it isn’t quite the same anywhere else.

‘It’s something about Winchester I think. It’s so easy to get into the sport, and everybody in the house really feels like one big family whilst competing,’ said one boy. This view is widely held around the school, with pupils and teachers alike getting involved either in an officiating capacity or chanting from the sidelines.

You might think that the sheer volume of house competitions during the school year would dilute interest, but I have found this to be far from the truth. Last year, the entire house erupted after an announcement about water polo. What’s more, at every event, you’ll find a house tutor or Housemaster offering support to the boys involved. Above all, the commitment in these competitions really fosters a clear sense of house unity wherever you go around the school.

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