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Thursday 09-Jun-2016
約定

聞名世界嘅泰晤士河,除咗見證了英國歷史洪流嘅興衰,對兩間最高學府Oxford同Cambridge亦有一種特殊意義。


每年泰晤士河上最墟冚嘅Oxbridge Boat Race,最初其實源於兩個同樣叫Charles嘅同窗好兄弟;一個叫Charles Merivale,一個叫Charles Wordsmith。


兩個好兄弟在Harrow讀書時都是學校的板球手,惺惺相惜,後來分別升上劍橋同牛津。由於佢哋熱愛運動,時不時都會去劍橋康河切磋一下rowing,直到有次:
 

「喂,其實兩個人都係唔夠過癮。不如我哋兩間U各自湊夠八個隊員,搞大件事佢。」
 

「好,怕你呀!我哋就轉場去泰晤士河!」
 

因為一次忽發奇想,兩個Charles決定要分別以牛津和劍橋身份嚟一場划艇對決,各自組成學校史上第一隊uni sports team,劍橋仲向牛津正式下戰書挑機。呢兩個Charles應該無諗過一次貪玩,會造就兩間學校一個維持咗187年嘅傳統。
 

第一場男子八人Boat Race喺1829年舉行,當時幾乎牛津全校學生都湧去Henley-on-Thames河邊觀戰,但最後劍橋慘敗。由於比賽大受歡迎,之後1859年開始就變成Oxbridge年度比賽,仲移師去泰晤士河倫敦段,令整個比賽越鬥越大。
 

除咗兩次世界大戰,無嘢阻止到Oxbridge每年嘅rowing之戰。每年賽事都由前一年的敗方發戰書挑機。兩校rowing club各有千秋,劍橋贏82次,牛津贏79次,只有一次係平手。由2015年開始,第70屆女子八人賽艇亦改為與男子賽同日喺倫敦泰晤士河進行。而家每年賽事觀戰人數達25萬,河邊兩岸酒吧逼滿睇熱鬧的本地人,甚或專程來觀戰的遊客,另外每年有近二千萬觀眾坐係電視機前觀戰。
 

雖然現時Oxbridge學生活躍於各種運動項目,但其實牛津收生時不設sports scholarship,即使係運動員,也同樣要符合入學成績的門檻,劍橋亦一樣,絕對no excuse。精英之所以係精英,只因為佢哋夠all-rounded,無論讀書定係其他不同方面都懂得自己兼顧。佢哋有種精英嘅傲骨:今年輸咗咩,下年約定你再喺泰晤士河上砌過。
 

呢種,就係Oxbridge獨有嘅浪漫。


圖片: Telegraph

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Samuel Chan, the winner of Alumni Awards 2017, is the founder of Britannia. He had studied in the UK since the age of 9 for 15 years and achieved his master degree in International Political Economy at University of Warwick. Now he shares his experiences and professional advice in education columns in Hong Kong’s major newspapers.

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