Student Spotlight: Farewell to Jamie Forsythe
Name: Jamie Forsythe
Degree: Master's in Mathematics
A few words from Stewart Humble (President - OULAFC) and George Newick (Incoming Vice President):
Jamie is the definition of an ‘underdog’. After moving around positions for his first two years on the Lancers, he finally found his home at linebacker last year. An exceptional student, his dedication to OULAFC led to him becoming one of the team’s starting Linebackers in the 2019-2020 season. Jamie had to work harder, study longer, and out-work others to accomplish this. He more than proved himself as a core player in a strong defensive unit, earning his Half Blue at the end of this season. Jamie’s on-field skills and leadership only increased in 2020-21, leading the defense to shut out Cambridge in Varsity Bowl XIV.
Aside from his hard work on the field, Jamie served on the Executive Committee during his second and third year as Treasurer. His impressive work ethic and organisation allowed him to move from this position to become OULAFC’s first ever Vice President in the 2020-21 season. Throughout his time with the club, he has continued to go above and beyond what is required in order to assist others, doing so with no expectation of recognition or reward. However, this past year as Vice President he has been truly exceptional, devoting much of his own time during his already busy final year at Oxford to help the club survive, and indeed thrive, during the COVID-19 pandemic. He has assisted with every aspect of the club over the last year, from recruitment, to finances, to being OULAFC’s designated COVID officer. It is impossible to overstate the impact Jamie has had on the Lancers—even his winning of the Lancer of the Year award last year, and the Veteran award this year, only goes part of the way to underlining his extraordinary commitment and achievements.
Jamie is a model for what hard work, dedication, and resilience can earn a student-athlete, and we wish him all the best in the future—the club will miss him greatly and sincerely hope to see him become involved as an Alumni.
I am a recent Oxford University graduate, having just completed a four-year Master of Mathematics degree. When I first came to Oxford in 2017, my only experience of American football was watching the NFL on Sunday evenings – I had never even thrown a football in real life. What’s more, I had no idea that there was a team at the university – or that the American football community in the UK was so big.
After I discovered the Lancers in my freshers’ week, and attended their taster sessions that year, I was instantly drawn into the sport, and was made to feel at home by all the players and coaches I met. Though I have always enjoyed watching sports, and played a few sports casually while growing up, this was the first time I had ever joined a serious sports team, so the experience was all relatively new to me. It felt really exciting to be a part of the club, and I think that the team spirit and commitment that the Lancers have from players and coaches alike has been really beneficial to both my performance on the team and my studies also.
Since joining the Lancers, I have played at several positions, starting out at running back, before moving to defensive back and then linebacker. During my time with the team, I have had to push myself harder both physically and mentally to fight for a starting position, whether it be through training at the gym, practising footwork outside of regular practices, or learning the playbook inside out and watching film of our opponents. As a result, I have managed to secure my spot as a starting linebacker for the last two years, as well as becoming defensive captain.
From 2018-2020 I was the treasurer for the Lancers. This was a huge responsibility to take on, putting myself in full control of the entirety of the team’s funds. While it was an intimidating role to start off, I quickly found my footing, helping the club to acquire several prestigious grants, modernise the team’s helmets and other equipment, and much more. I then served as club Vice-President from 2020-2021, helping to run the club and coordinate events. Unfortunately, a large portion of this year was lost to due COVID-19, but despite this, the hard work of myself and many others at the club allowed team activity to continue virtually and our player base to grow. It was a huge testament to the effort made by everyone at the club that we capped off this year with a massive Varsity win – our first match in almost 18 months.
Being part of the team has certainly not always been easy, but it has been hugely rewarding. I have thoroughly enjoyed my four years as a Lancer, and while it’s been a big time-commitment, I have still been able to manage my degree and pursue other hobbies as well. I am thankful for the skills and experience I have gained from working so closely with the club, as well as the competitive attitude I have developed as a player. I hope that the contributions I have made to the Lancers during my time at Oxford allow them to develop and thrive for years to come.