A great sporting extravaganza was organised by Find My Sport!
Sunday just past both my children attended the Find My Sport event which was as quoted per their website:
Find My Sport is a jamboree of sports for 4-11 year olds all scheduled on one day – Sunday July 13th 2014, at Shene Sports & Fitness Centre in East Sheen, Richmond Upon Thames. It is an opportunity for your child to watch and try a whole range of sports and be inspired to pursue one or more of them. Find My Sport is about each child finding the sport that suits them. It is not intended as an elite athlete search. It’s about making sport a core, fun value for your child; an attitude that will last a life-time.
Being the first time we had ever gone to anything like this our minds were open but with the usual questions. I can confidently say that the event in our minds was a resounding success, having been professionally organised with obvious precision throwing in a few nice little touches as well.
Upon entering there was a registration tent where we were given our boys tickets which comprised of five slots to be stickered every time one of the five recommended activities were partaken off, at the end of which there would be a goodie bag for completely filled in cards.
Unfortunately because of one son dipping out to go to a friends party midday and the other having to shift around activities due to his age none of them did complete their cards, they didn’t seem that bothered but I rather fancied one of the Find My Sports bags and my pout was not going to persuade the boys otherwise.
We started with archery. It turns out my two sons must be descendants from Robin Hood for they really took this. Taking a close up shot of my youngest who finds it hard to sit still I was amazed at the concentration on his face, something we will be definitely signing up for either holiday, term time or both.
I thought that there would be massive queues and tetchy children having to wait. The timing slots however were done cleverly to allow small gaps inbetween. Numbers of entrants per activity were clearly monitored and there was some free flow time where children could mingle and informally try different sports without booking. This allowed for an easy stream of youngsters to move from one sports provider to the next.
We then headed over to the fencing area which was a safely cordoned off. The children were taught first the dipping and diving steps, yes you can tell I have no idea as to their proper terminology.
The boys were itching for a sword and much to my relief were given bendy plastic ones. Then it came to sparring time, brother was pitched against brother. I thought there would be bloodshed but they had great fun, acting with chivalry obviously brought about by the sport and shaking hands at the end.
Around the fencing area was the newly developed cafeteria for Richmond Park Academy. Oh my, as you can see inside it is like something from a space age, spic and span and gloriously shiny and upbeat.
My son who is now at secondary school, but a different one was slightly green with envy. Luckily he did not see the fairy cakes that apparently the students can buy, I thought they were just out for us, but that was not the case. Lucky children we never had anything like that at school.
We also met up with Sheen Sports who had a stall there and provide residents with a huge array of different sporting goods, you will find them at 353-355 Upper Richmond Road SW14 8QN.
It is a family affair, Nick and his brother who resemble twins (my eyesight is bad), but who are not, actually live up my street, but can be found around East Sheen when not working namely the Hare & Hounds relaxing after a hard days work. They are a friendly lot so if you need some new tennis shoes, or kids sporting goods why not pop in and see what they have to offer?
There was also a lovely face painter, unfortunately I think she might have fared better if placed on the field as most of the children probably didn’t see her around the back, but seeing as she was just beside the cafeteria she was well looked after by the lovely ladies serving there.
There was a barbeque man providing burgers, a pimms stall and more, nothing was left out for provisions.
I would say that the average age range was between 4 – 6/7yrs old. This was wonderful to see. The only thing it did do was leave my 11yr old slightly embarrassed to have to enter a class with a huge group of youngsters.
I thought we would become unstuck at this point as 11yr olds can become quite ugly and grumpy at this age. We didn’t force him to be with the younger ones but found other areas that were either quiet or had children slightly nearer his age. No provider turned us down even though we weren’t booked, so I give a huge thumbs up for flexibility.
One of the sports providers we ended up seeing spontaneously was the rugby area where London Scottish FC were the hosts.
We had seen them previously at the Mortlake Fair where I had written an article mentioning them, which you can see here – Mortlake Fair we survived a washout
My eldest hasn’t really taken to rugby the way my husband would have liked (him been now a keen rugby watcher rather than player). So I was surprised that he chose to go to this area. I found the hosts to be amazingly patient, supportive and encouraging.
My son ended up with a one to one session of effectively personal rugby training after which some youngsters who were actually part of the club joined in and trained with him throwing balls back and forth and gently letting him know the right and wrong way to do it!
One thing I will say that was obvious is that all the sports providers showed a passion and gusto for their chosen profession. There was not one person that I spotted there with a bored face, or the “I want to go home now” look about them. There were smiles all around and genuine support, advice and skill sets given to the children who were attending.
Another area we visited was the hall which was taken over completely. There were gymnastics, basketball amongst other sports and we headed for the table tennis.
It was a Tooting based club that was hosting this sport, though a little far away they are hoping to get a club in the area. I cross fingers for this as its great fun.
One of the men helping out was in his 80’s and he flitted around the table with the speed of a dragonfly it was quite amazing to see.
They had a robot that would throw out balls which is where my son started, I sneaked in a go as was hopping about like a kid desperate to try it. Then he had a match against one of the trainers which was fun.
My youngest tried kayaking which you might ask where was the water? They hoisted a boat up in the air and children could then learn to row, it was ingenious.
He also did cycling and was thrilled to be given a BMX bike to try out on. They had various courses, poles to cycle under, speed testing and the slowest race which proved to be very challenging for the children as opposed to who was the fastest.
There were a few exhibitions to see also, one being gymnastics. I was amazed and squeamish at how bendy some of the children were.
We left exhausted but happy and hoping that there would be another event like this put on again in the not to distant future.
Well done to Find My Sport
© Justine @ LivinginEastSheen.co.uk