unizeit Schriftzug

Consistency and movement

For what feels like a small eternity, he has been the likeable face of Kiel's university sport. That has also to do with passion. Bernd Lange, Managing Director of the Sports Centre at Kiel University, is convinced that he has one of the most beautiful workplaces ever.

A man in a gymnasium.
© Martin Geist

Bernd Lange in the Sportforum, which he considers to be the ideal workplace: "The conditions are perfect thanks to the university's own sports facilities. You can hardly find this anywhere else in Germany."

"I come from a sporting background." It's easy for Lange to explain how he became what he is. His parents were addicted to gymnastics, his son came to soccer through children's gymnastics and athletics, and as a running-loving, defensive midfielder, he was temporarily in the highest division of Schleswig-Holstein with Heider SV.

No wonder that Lange turned his hobby into a subject for his education and studied sports and English as a teacher at the University of Kiel. After graduating in the summer of 1980, however, things went rather unevenly at first. It was not possible to find places for a traineeship without waiting, so Bernd Lange had to look for an interim job. So it was only fitting that a temporary position as university sports commissioner had just become available at the university. Bernd Lange, who had already gained experience in this field as a student assistant, seemed to be the right man for the job and took it. However, this did not mean that he was abandoning his desire to become a teacher.

But sometimes things just happen differently. Via detours, which led him to the University of Amman in Jordan as a sports development worker for six months, among other things, Lange finally found his permanent place at Kiel University. Initially as head of department and since 2011 as managing director of university sports, Lange works in a job that for him represents the perfect mix of teaching, management and personnel leadership. "It's simply beautiful, this diversity that's in there," he enthuses. And he adds how satisfying it is to deal with people who consistently come voluntarily to do good for themselves and their bodies: "They are all in a positive mood."

"I have never regretted having remained loyal to Kiel University for so long."

 

In fact, although the sports centre manages real estate, infrastructure and personnel as a service provider for the Institute of Sports Science as well as for the city's clubs, its main task is university sport. No matter whether employees or students, everyone should have the opportunity to do what they like.

Which actually happens to a very considerable extent. Every semester, 5,000 to 6,000 university members take advantage of the university sports offers. These figures have remained very stable for years. To Lange's own surprise, the actual programme has "not changed that much" over the past three decades. Classics such as dancing, the various popular ball games and even swimming have not only held up, they still attract most participants.

Such consistency is also thanks to those who are at work as trainers. According to Lange, they almost always come forward on their own initiative. As a result, they often stand behind the respective sport with infectious enthusiasm. "For most of them, money plays a small or no role at all," says Lange, who reports on a number of course instructors who have been in the profession for two decades and still convey the joy of sport as a hobby. The personification of Constance is not least Bernd Lange himself: The 64-year-old will retire in February next year and, in his own words, has "never regretted having remained loyal to Kiel University for so long".

With a smile, he notes after all these years that sports that were frowned upon as stuffy and dusty are suddenly very popular again. Dodgeball is very much in vogue at the moment, while the good old ski gymnastics are constantly enjoying great popularity. In this case, the sports centre has shown linguistic courage for modernity and renamed the offer "UniFit" some time ago.

On the other hand, the relevant newer trends are holding their ground. Above all, it is impossible to imagine life without fitness and health sports, reports Bernd Lange. Martial arts are also constantly strong, albeit in ever new variations. The most popular form of martial arts at the University of Kiel is classical boxing, the very discipline that the head of the sports centre had long resisted because it seemed too violent to him. But when a few years ago a student enthusiastically advertised for courses in "fencing with fists", Lange was persuaded - and is now convinced of the athletic qualities of fistfighting.

Author: Martin Geist