The weather this has put paid to some of our more traditional Lent Term sports. However, the recently formed Shrewsbury curling team have been practising on the ‘Ollie’s Egg’ ice rink outside the Art Department.
Bertie ‘It’s-all-about-the-stone’ Speed and Jonah ‘Iceman’ Greetham were training during a brief break in lessons. Bertie told me that his dream to represent Team GB in the Olympics meant that he has to grab every second he can on the ice. “If you want to reach the top in a sport, you have to put in the hours and seconds,” he said. Jonah has only recently been converted to the sport. “I was not sure that curling was that cool, but then being friends with a ‘Speed skater’ has helped me to see how cool ice related sports can be,” Jonah told me as he sucked an icicle.
Both curlers were sad that the School has not entered any competitive curling events so far this year. “It’s a great sport. My brothers are keen curlers and we constantly wander off looking for opponents to take on; my mum is always wondering where her curlers are,” Bertie told me.
Despite the current interest in curling, it has to be said that it leaves a large number of the School community cold. I wondered whether, if there were a significant Sporting Leader in the School community prepared to work with the curlers, the sport would grow in popularity. Personally, I have never had a need for curlers. But maybe I need a Sports Leader. Someone who can organise a tournament for me to play in. Someone to coach me in a sport that I need to improve in (Are there any? – Ed.). Someone to inspire me to lose the ‘prosperity ring’ I seem to be developing around my girth.
Luckily, I stumbled over a significant number of future Sports Leaders on Thursday afternoon being trained for greatness by Andy Smith and Simon Evitts from ‘Embrace Physical Education’. Andy and Simon are good sportsmen themselves and they enjoy working with kids to help them to get the most out of sport and to enhance self-confidence and all the personal skills that come through team sports and sport in general.
Those who sign up for Sports Leaders work towards a nationally recognised qualification: Level 2 in Community Sport Leadership. They will also gain a First Aid qualification and an Eton Fives coaching badge. That’s almost more qualifications than I have ever possessed in a year and they are all only 14-15 years old! I think I had better join next year. They can also go on to take what they have learned into coaching, if that is what they want to do.
The Shrewsbury gang enjoy the expertise of Simon and Andy. The Fifth Form mentors Ben Stewart, Layth Salman, Ben Hulme and Ed Evans informed me that Simon is the captain and coach of Shrewsbury Rugby Club. Andy plays for Beacon Brazil and is highly skilled in mentoring children in care and working with some challenging children. Ben and Layth told me they are inspired by Simon’s rugby prowess and his leadership both on and off the field. Layth told me very proudly that the group had organised a tag rugby event for 120 children, which went very well and was enjoyed by all. “I am very proud,” Layth said.
Revd Aldous was also present, as he is a top Fives coach and has become another inspirational figure to Ben Hulme and Ed Evans. The Rev deals with the Fives,” they told me. “Fives is ideal for a priest, as you frequently have to put your hands together,” Ed told me. “You also have to bend down a bit and I am sure that a gifted genuflector will have an edge in some points.” “Prayer might help in a match situation sometimes,” Ben added.
I asked some of the trainee Sports Leaders how they were finding the course. Francesca Harris enjoys the First Aid side of things, as she worries about some of the little children in case they fall over. “I love First Aid, as I think I can help anyone who falls over,” Francesca told me. Francesca is a very fast runner and would be able to reach patients before anyone else. I wondered if she would wear a blue light on her head, but she seemed strangely downbeat about my really good idea.
Bridget Merison told me that she enjoys Sports Leaders as “it’s fun and less stressful than CCF. You are not being trained to kill people, which means it is probably a more positive option for me,” Bridget stated in a very positive manner.
Georgie Nicholas feels that the course will stand her in good stead for later life. “The leadership skills will stand me in good stead for later life. I ‘may’ even want to be Prime Minister now,” she said with feeling.
Tobi Braithwaite has gained some much needed self-confidence from the course. “I now know I am a natural leader. I would describe myself as the Jose Mourinho of the Sports Leaders community, whereas before I would have settled for Jürgen Klopp like Marcus Young.” After some extensive research Tobi told me that he has discovered that the kids all love him and see him as an inspirational coach. Sithi and Doug-Hague Saunders were not sure that Tobi’s research was correct and were wondering if his delusional tendencies should be checked out in the Sanatorium.
I sat in on a session where the Sports Leaders discussed what makes a good coach. The Longmynd 55- seater was held up as a good example. The discussion then focused on the other type of coach, and I learnt that I should have been encouraging my teams rather than berating them for being rubbish.
The Fives coaching session on Field Day was very successful and youngsters from Prestfelde and St George’s Primary School were coached by the Sports Leaders who all looked very sporty and confident.
Ted Davies exemplified the afternoon by being very friendly, confident and organised. Andy and Simon were very impressed, and their target of giving everyone a fulfilling and fun afternoon seemed to have been met. The St George’s and Prestfelde pupils were mixed up so that they could all make new friends on top of learning how to play a game that was new to almost all of them.
There were a lot of smiles and no smashed tea-cups!
Sports Leaders at Shrewsbury abound!