By Arjun Seth
It is that time of year; when partners and families worldwide stoically accommodate the chutzpah, and often varying in quality, moustache-growing attempts of their Movember-participating friends. To understand more about this annual tradition and its importance amongst our sportsmen, I spoke to first-year Grey College rower and first-time grower Lachlan Jones. One of the many sportsmen who, as part of university-wide efforts, is fundraising for the Movember Foundation.
Q: Why have you chosen to participate this year?
A: Peer pressure. No, don’t write that – we’re aiming for the opposite! It stems from the lad culture that runs deep in many social groups from sports teams to non-academic societies across the university. Whilst that might initially pose some negative connotations, yet born out of that now, at least in the boat club, is an emerging sense of male solidarity. Within this, kindness and awareness of mental health issues are needed if we are tackling these concerns as a collective. It is nice to see sports groups fostering a friendlier environment, and participating in challenges that engage with these issues, especially given some of the initiation horror stories we have heard over the years.
Q: Your moustache has been attracting significant attention across town – notably comments on recent bar crawls and growing admiration amongst rowing peers. Why do you think yours has been so appealing?
A: Well, opinion has been diverse across the board. My mother believes it looks awful, and my sister is not a fan either, so it really is something that I am terrified to impose upon my family. Still, it is the commitment to the challenge that is important. Despite the criticisms, Movember brings us closer together as a boat club and raises awareness about a praiseworthy cause. You’ve got to do what you’ve got to do. I intend to keep it into the festive period – it’ll keep me warm when skiing in the Alps!
Q: And lastly, what does Movember mean to you personally?
A: It is an excuse to grow something on my face that, in certain situations, is socially unacceptable for 11 months of the year. But that is the point of the exercise – to highlight what has previously been dismissed or considered unacceptable. This year, it has been a privilege to support the Movember Foundation, which bolsters awareness and education about mental health, suicide prevention, and early signs of prostate cancer. It is a fantastic cause, and I am delighted that the boat club has been able to contribute £115 to the phenomenal total of £32,716 raised by DU teams and societies thus far. A special mention must be made to the Grey College Rugby Club who raised an exemplary £5346. As a boat club, it has been a great chance to participate in an endeavour together – it is what team sports are all about. Not to mention, it has been a brilliant opportunity to sport a new look too!
Since the completion of the Movember challenge, Grey College Boat Club managed to raise £135 as stated by the total on the Movember website.
Image credit: Lachlan Jones