Trinity School, Dagenham
April 1st, 2015
SportInspired had a double header Wednesday, allowing me to run from an incredible Eastbrook Games in the morning to a legendary Trinity Community Games in the afternoon.
Having the great fortune of participating in these games I had the chance to return to the Trinity Community Games one last time before I headed back to the United States. Once again Luke and company ran a brilliant festival! Trinity and all the other schools participating are living proof that events like this can be continued and can have a significant impact on a student’s development and behaviour.
Like the first Games I attended, this multi-sport festival is for children and young people with either a physical, sensory, or learning disability. The key principles consist of offering sport in an enjoyable environment that offers a positive experience for young people with the aim of finding every attendee a sport they love and can play after the event.
Positive experiences were all around me. I recognized a lot of students from the first games I attended as they were quite shy and tentative. This time around the gloves were off. Students interacted with me right away, remembering my New Age Kurling session from the first games. They still possessed the knowledge and technique for curling which allowed for more time to compete. In two games their confidence and social skills were growing as they actively and loudly participated.
One student named Rachel was very shy the first time we met. She didn’t want to participate and wasn’t interested in displaying any form of team spirit. This time around she greeted me with a smile, excitedly played sport with her teammates, cheering the loudest on her team.
Rachel wasn’t alone, other students began socializing more. Teachers would tell me about specific students that would rather stay in the corner alone than play sport with others. Now these students are leading, communicating with one another, and involving themselves in the skills sessions like never before.
There was another student whose confidence, like Rachel’s, sky rocketed over the course of the festival. This student had a record of staying away from activities and going over to the corners of the rooms by himself. Shocking his teachers that day, this young student became the most active participant on the judo floor. He found something he enjoyed and went for it!
These Games continue to inspire students to interact and play sport. They also inspire teachers, sport club professionals, and people like me because of the amazing display of bravery to try and interact with classmates and a new sport. This change in a person’s mindset is something you really have to see to believe. Changing a life for the better is truly priceless. I believe it’s critical at this age to teach strong social skills, confidence, and a positive spirit so students will be ready for the future. The Trinity Community Games programme is doing just that.
Forrest Payne, SportInspired Intern