ONCS 2006

Ascension Day and the day after are that time of year when the Dutch undergrad (Bachelor and Master) students in chemistry and related fields come together for two days of sports, parties and a big lack of sleep. This event is known as the ONCS (pronounce: onx): the Open Nederlandse Chemie Sportdagen, or Open Dutch Chemistry Sports Days. This year, about 400 students from across the country (and a dozen or so from Germany) came together in the city of Nijmegen to compete in badminton, beach volleyball, darts, frisbee, handball, hockey, soccer, tennis, table tennis, volleyball, and some “non-sports” like chess and Trivial Pursuit. Some recent graduates (such as myself) also come along.

The weather is supposed to be very good all the time, but we were unlucky this year. Except for maybe two minutes of sunshine on the first day, it was overcast all the time. Even worse, we got some showers on day one and it was pouring down almost continuously on day two. I played beach volleyball and I’ll tell you, it’s more fun when the sun is shining! It was so bad the second day that we moved indoors, substituting the wet sand for a normal volleyball court. We ended up in sixth place out of eight teams, but it should be noted that we had a two-man team and all the other teams had three players. (Normal beach volley is two vs. two, but for this tournament teams of three were also allowed.) If we’d had a third player, we’d probably have ended in third place.

Note to self for future games: the fence and concrete base around the sand court are not to be slammed into with any decent force, unless I want another bruised hand and bruised/bleeding knee. Fortunately I could play on without any real trouble.

I didn’t stay around until the awards ceremony, so I’m not sure where we ended with our university. Based on the results I heard, I’d say around seventh out of eleven.

[Update (May 29th, 2006): Apparently, we ended in sixth place. Even better!]

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