As a child, many of us might have enjoyed the task of imagining our divine homeroom teachers going about their mortal lives: going to the bathroom, eating cheese puffs or even watching a late night comedy show. Even as college students, we still draw vague images of professors passing on wisdom by day, and pouring over a thick mind numbing book by night in our heads. However, the professors of Erokhyoe (the Ewha professors golf club), and 'Ewha faculty tennis club' prove that professors find time to have fun, and that yes, even professors actually do sweat sometimes.
The 'Ewha faculty tennis club' started off 30 years ago with the hopes that every faculty member would become fit and build friendly relationships through tennis. Today, a total of 80 faculty members have gathered to fulfill those hopes. Thirty of them have become Gold members, a title given to professors who actively participate in gatherings and contribute 10 thousand won monthly for equipment such as tennis balls and shower products.
Every day around 5:00 pm, about a dozen members get together in the Ewha tennis court for a sweaty hour and a half of pure sports. Matches are usually done in doubles, and when a match is over, the partners rotate. A faculty tennis tournament is held every spring and fall, and at the end of each semester awaits a national tennis tournament where professors from various universities gather together for a smash. Ewha hosts the event biannually.
"At the national tournament, many competing teams look forward to playing against Ewha." said Professor Jo Young-sik (Industrial Design), manager of the Ewha faculty tennis club with a laugh. "Since Ewha is a woman's university, they believe that most of the team members would be female professors. But we actually have only six female members."
Erokhyoe on the other hand, is somewhat smaller in size but shows the same vibrating spirit. It began as a small group of professors who shared their love for golf, but now boasts a total of 53 members from nearly every college in Ewha. Similar to the 'Ewha faculty tennis club,' they also hold regular tournaments three times a year each in April, June and October. Four players are each awarded with the Medalist, Longest, Nearest and Lucky Award according to their score.
"We hold special event matches randomly during the year too," said Park Seung-ha (Human Movement Studies), manager of Erokhyoe. "About 30 professors participate in each match. For us professors who mostly spend time in the office or in a lecture room, it's a rare and healthy opportunity to blend with nature."
The manger of ‘the Ewha faculty tennis club’ also said the sport club was ideal. "For professors who are busy with research, tennis is a great way to exercise because it is neither too aggressive nor too passive," said Jo. "It's also a great way to socialize."
Members say that unofficial get-togethers outside the green are also a great bonus. As the members are all certified professionals in their unique fields, they sometimes influence each other in research and in other unexpected ways, even during a post-match beer session. “It’s a great way to have a light, yet in-depth discussion on really any kind of topic,” said Professor Jang Han -up (French language), who says he plays tennis with Ewha professors whenever he finds the time. “We consult each other on personal issues too. It’s all very relaxed, yet very productive.”
According to Jo, professors of the tennis club visit each other frequently and even attend each other’s family celebrations. Since professors gather often, amusing episodes happen within the group. "We have recently celebrated a marriage between two members of our club," said Jo. "Two professors have confessed to have found her their soul mates."
For both 'Ewha faculty tennis club' and Erokhyoe, the time spent in courts and on the grass with fellow professors is precious and highly recommendable. "Being able to sweat in an hour-long tennis match in a great tennis court overlooking the Namsan Tower, taking a refreshing shower and having a light meal or a drink afterwards is like taking vitamins," said Jo. "It's also great fun. I hope more professors, and even Ewha students have the chance to experience that."
by Kang Sung-hye