Most sports clubs take part in regional or national competitive leagues. However, the Never Less Field Hockey Club likes to do things a little differently. Many of its approximately 250 members form teams that battle it out among themselves for victory in the club’s internal autumn tournament. Last Monday evening, a team called Tel tot Team won the final of the tournament, and so was crowned the club’s best team. Yet, as is often the case with this club, the evening’s highlight took place off the pitch.
For instance, after the game, dozens of Never Less members gathered in the atmospheric cafeteria of the Leonidas Field Hockey Club to have a few beers, attend the award ceremony and celebrate St Nicolas a few weeks early, after which a few die-hards closed off the night in the Irish pub in downtown Rotterdam, as they do every Monday night.
Not too seriously
One of these die-hards was former EUR student and committee member Sjoerd Peters. He scored the goal in the penalty shoot-out that gave Tel to Team the victory in the final, but that did not mean all that much to him.
“This internal competition shouldn’t be taken too seriously. It’s just students playing hockey. The thing that matters is being able to have a good time together and have a beer,” he said while he and his teammates were getting ready for the award ceremony, putting the whole thing into perspective.
Fair Play Award
But it was not just the competition winners who were put in the limelight during the award ceremony. St Nicolas was in attendance, as well (a little early), and a team called ’t Gooisch Gezelschap was celebrated for winning the Fair Play Award, by some considerable margin.
“Some people are so gung ho when playing sports. Where’s the fun in that?” sneered Educational Sciences student Judith Elsinga, 20, a member of the team. “Hockey is meant to be fun. Don’t join Never Less if you want to play real hockey.”
The members attending the ceremony had only returned from a festive but exhausting members’ weekend the day before. Not that you could tell – they were indulging in Heineken and ‘straw ad fundum’ games (downing a bottle of beer in one gulp through a straw) as usual.
One of the students enjoying the club’s parties was Fiscal Economics, Economics and Business Economics student Leonie van der Klugt, 21, who is a member of the committee organising the club’s activities. “The members’ weekend is the highlight of the year. The beer cantus [beer sing-along], in particular, was fabulous,” she said, looking mischievous. “Some things happened that unfortunately I’m not to tell you about.”
“Our club is about fun as well as hockey,” added the club’s President, Bram van der Doelen, 23, who is doing a Master’s degree at EUR. He emphasised that the club consists of a group of very close and active members, most of whom know each other well because they all take part in the club’s internal competition.
In addition, teams include both beginners and advanced players, and men and women play together. “That’s why we are different from other sports clubs,” Van der Doelen proudly said in closing.