Part of the package of being a student at Trinity College is the payment of a subscription to the campus sports centre. This fee of €120 is non-negotiable whether or not one ever uses the facility. It is either paid as part of the annual tuition fee or one goes somewhere else to study. Students themselves voted on this matter a number of years ago, and so being exempted from the charge is nigh-on impossible. The upside, of course, is that every student is entitled to use the centre. So on Friday last I decided to put my extorted money to use and go along for a swim. Throwing caution to the wind I invested a further €3.50 in a swimming cap – which is mandatory – and plunged into the freezing water of Trinity’s pool.

Less than five minutes later the casual swimmers were being gently nudged to go away. Lanes were being put down for the serious swimmers to get into the zone. I should have known about this, it’s clearly printed on the schedule – and we all check the swimming schedules, apparently. All that I wanted was to splash about in my inflatable armbands. This pool and sports centre was never actually for the likes of me. This was always about a subsidy to the sporty set. Well f**k that, I thought. I made the decision to get out the pool and ask for my money back.

Never in a million years would I get my €120 back. That was gone, but – on principle – I was sure as hell going to fight for my €3.50. Up I went with my used and wet cap and explained that this wasn’t really my cup of tea, and, as a show of good faith, requested a refund. It was refused.

Later that day I typed up a complaint to the Dean of Students, the Graduate Students Union, my class representative, and the sports centre. No way would I be darkening the door of the centre again, and no freaking way would it be keeping my money. Today I received an email from the director of the centre apologising that I didn’t “enjoy” by visit. Like it was ever about me just not having a good time! Anyway, in the email he said that he would be happy to reimburse the €3.50 – all I need do is let him know when I’ll be dropping in and he’ll be waiting with my cash. My thinking now is that I will add €1.50 to this paltry sum and make it a fiver and donate it to a good cause.

Jason Michael
Blog Author

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