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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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