Four days into my two-month stint in London and on just my second day as an official intern for SportInspired, I found myself setting up game stations at The Copper Box Arena for the 2016 Newham Games.
The children who would enter in the coming hours hailed from John F. Kennedy, Carpenters, Park and Plaistow Primary Schools. They were football, basketball, cricket and tennis fans. They were runners, dancers and swimmers. They all fell in love with a new sport that day at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.
I, along with my fellow SportInspired team members, a host of Nike volunteers and young leaders from Chobham Academy, guided them from one activity to another.
The primary school children took turns at handball, basketball, wall-ball, dodgeball and table tennis. They braved some rain and tried cycling while also taking time to learn healthier ways to live. Split up into 24 teams, they competed for two trophies: an overall team points competition trophy and a team spirit trophy. The latter was larger than the former, and rightly so.
Sports are meant to bring people together and show how the joy of the game and teamwork are of a far higher order than the final score. While each child, young leader and Nike volunteer competed to win each competition, the sheer volume of their cheers for the team spirit trophy when it passed by drowned out everything else. The day’s focus helped children who were timid at first slowly come out of their shells. They made new friends and learned the value of fun over winning at-all-cost.
I sought to join the SportInspired team because I treasure what it was like to find sports as a youngster growing up in the United States. The friends I made then are still my friends now, and I haven’t lost any joy playing the sports we learned together. And yet, while much of the Newham Games reminded me of my youth, I learned something new that day.
I had never been exposed to wall-ball before the Newham Games, and discovering a new sport added fuel to the fire of my thought that sport is an entity that keeps on giving. SportInspired is about having fun. It is about teamwork. It is about trying new things. SportInspired is about the joy of discovery, and I can’t wait to experience that truth at future events.
As Will from Park Primary said: “I will remember how fun it was today and that I would like to come again.”
SportInspired Marketing Intern