Photographer:Fotograaf: Joey Roberts
Professor Marko Jelicic shares a meal with student triathlon club Ferro Mosae
“Can we do anything?” Bas van de Valk asks Thara van der Borgh and Ilse van de Wijgert, who are busy in the kitchen. “No, everything’s ready, go sit down. Do you guys want a beer?” says Van de Wijgert, the host of the evening. Van der Borgh laughs: “We have a traditional division of labour tonight. Not deliberately though.” “I think we’re doomed to doing the dishes”, says Van de Valk. “Hell, yeah”, comes the reply. Van der Borgh opens the oven and extracts a slab of Turkish bread, to accompany the tomato and pepper soup with meatballs. “It’s a bit too brown.” “That’s what we call crisp”, says Van de Valk.
The wine glasses are ready, the candles are lit and there are even flowers in the room. The latter is pure coincidence; Van de Wijgert won them the day before. It’s not often the triathletes of Ferro Mosae gather in such a domestic setting. “Most of us train every day”, Van de Wijgert explains. “When we eat together, we go out somewhere.”
“What a cosy place”, says Professor Marko Jelicic when he arrives soon after. He produces two bottles of wine from of his bag and takes a seat at the head of the table. What field does he work in?, Van der Borgh asks immediately. Jelicic explains something briefly about neuropsychology and law. “Anything like what you do?” Not in terms of studies, but Van de Valk is just about to start an internship in psychiatry. Jelicic, it turns out, used to work as a researcher at the mental healthcare institution then known as Vijverdal, now Mondriaan. “There was a tower block that you felt coming at you when you walked in. Eventually they razed it, it was so depressing for clients. Now we know from research that an aesthetically pleasing environment is good for your health.” “So that’s why they made Limburg greener after they closed the mines”, Nick Bocken jokes.
During the main course – leg ham, roast potatoes and salad – the discussion turns to triathlon, something Jelicic knows only from the renowned Iron Man races held all over the world. “One of them came through Eijsden a few times, where I live.” The members of Ferro Mosae generally do shorter distances. “You have to train for years to do a full triathlon – it’s 3.8 km swimming, 180 km cycling and an entire marathon. We usually do the half and the quarter triathlon”, says Loïc Mignon. “It’s the exception rather than the rule for twenty-year-olds to take part”, Van de Borgh says. “Most participants are in their forties and fifties.” Mignon beams encouragingly at Jelicic: “So there’s still time.”
Jelicic is keen to know all the ins and outs of the sport: how do they practice, is it addictive, what’s their favourite part, how much does it all cost, what do they do together besides training? It’s definitely addictive, the students say. They mainly socialise while training. “When you spend six hours on a bike together you get to know one another pretty well”, Van der Borgh says. The club also organises the occasional activity. “And we have a drink together every Tuesday evening after swimming practice”, Van de Wijgert adds. Chocomel, that is – no beer or wine here. Van der Borgh laughs. “How do you think that’ll come across in print?” Van de Wijgert doesn’t care. “Maybe Chocomel will finally sponsor us. It’s got the right ratio of carbohydrates to protein.”
They are not big fans of going out, preferring instead to spend their money on equipment. The sport is not cheap. “It’s an investment”, Van der Borgh explains. “To start with you need a bike, a wetsuit and running shoes. But training outside is free and our annual membership is pretty cheap as well.” The expensive thing is taking part in competitions. Van de Valk will do his first Iron Man race this year. “Guess what it costs”, he asks Jelicic. “My daughter’s a competitive runner, her races usually cost a few dozen euros. I’m guessing more than that?” “580 euros”, Van de Valk replies, and the professor almost falls off his chair. “What?” Triathlon certainly is an investment.
The tiramisu materialises, and the conversation turns to the differences between Limburg and the Randstad. “At first I had to get used to how slow everyone is at the cash register”, Van de Wijgert sighs. When everyone laughs, she adds quickly: “I don’t mean it in a bad way! People here just take their time doing things.” “Everyone’s more rushed and cranky in the Randstad”, agrees Jelicic, who moved from Amsterdam to Maastricht via Groningen nearly twenty years ago.
The discussion continues for some time after dinner: the upcoming elections, the selection procedure for medicine, the students’ career aspirations and the differences between the Netherlands and Belgium (Mignon comes from Flanders). Jelicic tells a few stories about lawsuits involving his field, neurolaw. People unable to remember their crime, eye witnesses pressured by the police into making false statements, people who confess to things they didn’t do. “People used to wonder, why on earth would someone do that? But it’s more common than you might think.” “Have you seen Making a Murderer?” Van der Borgh asks. Jelicic doesn’t have Netflix, so Van der Borgh explains how the documentary series – following an innocent man who was jailed for eighteen years for rape and later accused of murder – highlighted just how important legal psychologists are. “When you’re put under that much pressure, you’ll confess to anything. I wouldn’t want my future to depend on how I react in a moment like that.”
Marko Jelicic * 58 * endowed professor of Neuropsychology and Law * married, two children * lives in Eijsden
Loïc Mignon * 19 * first-year Economics and Business Economics * member of Ferro Mosae
Nick Bocken * 23 * fourth-year Biometrics, Zuyd University of Applied Sciences * member of Ferro Mosae
Bas van de Valk * 23 * fifth-year Medicine * member of Ferro Mosae
Thara van der Borgh * 22 * fifth-year Medicine * secretary of Ferro Mosae
Ilse van de Wijgert * 22 * fourth-year Medicine * activity/general board member of Ferro Mosae
Stars awarded by Professor Jelicic (max. 5)
Cleanliness ***** “I can only compare with my children’s student houses, and they weren’t nearly as clean.”