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Pragada: Octopush

I select the sports I visit here at Oxford through a very rigorous process. And by that I mean I pull up the sports catalogue on the official Oxford website and scroll through the various clubs until I find the one that amuses me the most. I’m still hoping to get a visit with the walking team and the korfball team! Once I’ve made my selection, I send out an email to get an invitation to a team practice.

Pragada: The Six Nations Championship

We’re nearing the end of the term here at the Bing Overseas Oxford study abroad program, and I’d been feeling let down after the pitiful showing by Britain during the Winter Olympic Games. They finished the ceremonies in PyeongChang with only five medals to their name, a sad showing when compared to the prowess displayed by the United States and their 23 medals. I’ve been in England for seven weeks, I need to be nationalistic about something to truly feel a part of the culture here, and what better way to display country pride than in sports! Then I wandered into a pub this past weekend and saw my new fellow countrymen cheering on an English rugby team.

Pragada: Super Bowl Monday

When February dawns and the Super Bowl makes its return to end the NFL season, there always seems to be a number of new football fans that come out of the woodwork and clamor to organize parties to watch the big game. People you would never in a million years expect to care about the Patriots or the Eagles suddenly are posting selfies with Tom Brady and Carson Wentz jerseys on.

Pragada: Batter up

The Oxford Blues women’s cricket team meets in a small gym with green rubber floors, not much larger than a basketball court. The coach is speaking to the team, running through some throwing drills, and two hard, leather bound cricket balls are flying haphazardly around the room as the team warms up. Suddenly cricket bats and tennis balls are broken out and small groups of hitting drills commence, projectiles now soaring through the air in every direction; the sharp cracks of the bat piercing the light conversation taking place amongst team members. The head coach catches sight of me sitting idly on the sidelines, drafting this column, and with two emphatic gestures (one at me, one at the tennis balls laying in the corner), I’m now involved in this practice somehow, ducking and dodging as I pick up balls for the team and try to avoid being hit. How on earth did this happen?

Pragada: Row, row, row your boat

My first exposure to rowing (or what they refer to in America as “crew”) came in 2010, when i saw David Fincher’s movie The Social Network. Besides being completely blown away at the fact that Armie Hammer was playing two people on screen at the same time, I was additionally shocked that competitive kayaking was a real sport, one that posh British people in the movies seemed to take exceptionally seriously. My next encounter with rowing, in high school, reminded me that the founding of Facebook wasn’t the only thing exaggerated in that movie, and helped me better comprehend this aquatic mystery of a competition.