Thursday of last week (the 19th) saw the annual pool team dinner. I’ve mentioned before that I play for the Catz IVths Pool team, and probably made very clear that we aren’t the fourth best team in college. Most likely I made claim to being a narrow second. I’d like to reiterate that we’re actually pretty good, and our name harks back to our humble origins as inexperienced freshers, before our towering pool talents were fully realised. Everyone on the team is good friends and along with our army of supporters, including the official ‘leaders of cheer’, we went out for a posh meal in a local restaurant. Well, when I say we went out for a meal, that’s not strictly true. I couldn’t actually afford to eat anything, and the little money I could spare went on half a bottle of wine. If the choice is food or drink, I know where my loyalties lie…

Afterwards we all headed back to college and congregated for the awards ceremony. (No, seriously. The certificates were laminated and everything.) Recognition was given in such diverse fields as ‘Extreme Spankage’ (balls, not other people. No, the pool balls…), ‘Most Abusive Chat’ (friendly-ish banter aimed at the opposition), and ‘Losing to a Girl’ (perhaps sexist, but she was really crap). I won for ‘Being Our Baby’, which is entirely incomprehensible until you hear the story behind it. The evolutionary path followed by my nickname began with ‘Fyse’, passed briefly through ‘Fyse Fyse Baby’ (with accompanying theme song), before becoming simply ‘Baby’. On the back of this year’s team kit my name is ‘Don’t Call Me Baby’. (We are the only pool team in Cambridge with official team shirts, and yes, we do look like dorks turning up to games dressed identically.)

As well as the awards ceremony, and much alcohol consumption, the results of the captaincy elections were announced. The two candidates were myself and Dan, one of my flatmates last year. The campaign was an ugly affair; mud was slung, intimidation and corruption were rife, and manifestos were released that should never even have been written. I thought long and hard about whether to post a PDF of my campaign poster, but concluded the world had done nothing to deserve such horror. The same goes for the bumper stickers. I shall reveal only that my manifesto was bullet-pointed with little versions of the same photo that currently graces the top of this website. It was not pretty.

To cut an increasingly lengthy story short, the vote was tied at eight each. In a moment of over confidence, Dan had voted for me ‘as a joke’. Meanwhile, I was attempting to vote for myself a second time, with plans for a third and possibly even fourth. My concerted efforts at electoral fraud failed, but nonetheless Dan should really have won by two votes. The farcical atmosphere of the contest was heightened when the captain and vice-captain declined to set any sort of tie-breaker (howls of popular support were for something horrifically called ‘The Head-Butting Game’), but instead made the decision themselves, awarding me victory. I was irrationally furious about this, rather to their confusion since they expected me to be glad. Perhaps it offended my rather over-inflated sense of fair play. Just not British, dash it!

Anyway, I’m over it now and ready to turn my incomparable tactical genius to the mammoth task ahead. With the help of Dan as vice-captain, foes will cower at the mere mention of our name. Promotion is still a possibility this season, in which case next year will find us winning the top division. Failing this, the task will be to make sure of promotion next year instead. Either way, things will not be easy. Most of our team is graduating this summer, and finding replacements of the same quality will be tough, if not impossible. But the Fourthian spirit is strong, and legions will flock to us once our mighty battle-banner is unfurled.

Note to self: Buy mighty battle-banner.