Alumni Services

This is your moment

We asked you to send your proudest sporting moment and here are five of the best.

Dr Julian Kennedy
Dr Julian Kennedy

To commemorate the 150th anniversary of Edinburgh University Sports Union, we asked you to submit your sporting moments.

Everything from single instances of brilliance in a modest sporting environment, to pinnacles of achievement with University sports teams and beyond, found their way into the alumni mailbox. Thank you to everyone who contributed. All of the entries have been forwarded to the Sports Union tand will be shared with current and future students.

We asked EUSU’s current alumni officer, rugby player and geography student, Hatty Cumber to choose her five favourite moments. The winners will be receiving prizes from the University of Edinburgh Gift Shop.

A rowing machine

First up is Dr Julian Kennedy who is proof that you can still keep doing sport, taking part and achieving, at any age.

Dr Julian Kennedy, MBChB 1976

Greatest sporting achievement (in terms of effort). Recently at age of 62 got gold at Scottish Indoor Rowing Champs (1000m) and silver at Irish Indoor Rowing Champs (2000m).

It’s the taking part that counts

Anne Burgess was keen to stress that she is not, and has never been, a gifted athlete but is a keen participant and enjoys skiing, kayaking, sailing, gliding and cycling.

Anne Burgess, Economics 1969

In 1969, as a member of the EU Ski Club, I was prevailed upon to participate in the British Universities and Scottish Ladies' giant slalom on Cairngorm (or it might have been Scottish Universities and British Ladies' - I don't recall exactly). There were 50 competitors and I was seeded 49th, which was not exactly encouraging.

However the day came and I duly took my place in the start gate. When I emerged I realised that the whole course was ice, and that the previous 48 competitors, all choosing the same best line, had carved a deep, steep, meandering icy groove down the mountainside. Terrified, I slid slowly down in a snowplough, avoiding the icy groove as far as possible, and heaved an immense sigh of relief when I reached the bottom in one piece, vowing never to undertake anything quite so daft again.

To my amazement, I finished about 20th. The better skiers had almost all lost control on the ice and either fallen or missed a gate, putting themselves out of contention.

I have never again shone even as dimly as that in any other form of sporting endeavour, and I have never taken part in any other sporting competition since (apart from some sailing races and two minor gliding competitions, but that's another story that ends up 'flown 2, bent 2'). I intend shortly to spend my 70th birthday on skis.

New tricks

Edinburgh University Association Football Club (EUAFC) member Stuart Miller learnt from the best and put it to good use for the good of the University.

Stuart Miller, Geography 1986

EUAFC; playing a pre-season friendly against Hearts in 1984. It was one of my early first XI appearances as right back. I was marking Willie Johnston of 1978 World Cup notoriety on the left wing. He taught me more lessons in toe stamping and shirt pulling in 90 minutes than you would want in any sporting lifetime. He didn’t score and at the end he said that I played well and would be better if I learned to foul back and he was doing it to ‘teach me’.   

We basically had 90 minutes of fun.

The next year I marked Gordon Durie in pre-season against Cowdenbeath before he went to Hibs and Chelsea. He was as strong as an ox. He again said that I had played well and asked in his broad Fife accent ‘where did you learn to foul like that?’ I didn’t tell him.

Adventures in hockey

For Neil Morris it was less of a moment and more of a journey and a great insight into how the Sports Union and the clubs were run in the late 1950s.

Neil Morris, German and French 1961

1957. At the beginning of my first term at Edinburgh University, I signed up to play hockey. To do this one had to go to the notice boards in the quad of the medical schools near to the McEwan hall, the students’ union.

The medics studied for six or more years as opposed to the three or four of almost everyone else, so the majority of the four hockey (and the rugby) teams were usually filled by medics in their final years. After one afternoon of trials where I obviously didn’t impress, I found myself down as centre-forward in the fourth team for the first Saturday match. I turned up and played; we won 5-0, and I scored five goals. On the Wednesday following, I found myself raised to the third team. We won by at least four goals; I scored four. On the next Saturday I was in the second team and scored three; and on the second Wednesday I found myself in the university team, where I scored twice. I scored once in the next match but then had a lean period.

I never managed to mesh in very well with the first team’s style of play and eventually settled into the second team, which I captained the next season and again in my fourth year after returning from a year in Germany. But I doubt whether many others have played for all four teams in their first four games, and scored 14 goals in the process.

Shirley Addison
Shirley Addison at the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games

A royal appointment

Shirley Addison has achieved a considerable amount in the sporting arena including as British Masters Champion in springboard and highboard diving, rugby for the Scotland National Development Squad and as part of of the British Olympic team at Athens in hammer. She currently holds the Scottish Record in hammer and is the third furthest British thrower of all time.

Her proudest sporting moment, however, occurred off the field at the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games.

Shirley Addison, Mathematics 2002

My proudest sporting moment was escorting Her Majesty the Queen around the Athletes Village at the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games.

Being invited to be Village Chieftain was a special honour, the culmination of years of voluntary work, to bring the Games to Glasgow and ensure that the athletes would be at the heart of the spectacle. It was my fifth Commonwealth Games, each has given me wonderful memories, but the atmosphere in Glasgow was truly exceptional.

Related links

The Edinburgh University Sports Union

The Centre for Sport and Exercise graduate discount