You don’t have to know much about us to know that sport is a major theme in this house; from gymnastics to taekwondo, rugby to dancing, running to netball, everyone in the house spends many hours a week partaking in team or individual sports. It’s one of the few places that we all overlap in some way, despite the diversity of our interests. Neither Fran nor I have much interest in team sports at at all (though Fran does play rugby but I think she would quite like to play it alone!) but Amelie loves netball, Maddy loves her rugby and Max will settle down in front of football, rugby or cricket quite happily. I sigh in exasperation at cricket, tennis and athletics as viewing sports (frankly the jury is out on whether cricket can count as a sport at all in my opinion 😉 ) but I’ll watch gymnastics all day every day if offered. Josie seems to be going the lone sportswomen route and Bene is already clearly keen on gym/dance style activity; there is consternation that he prefers to kick a ball than run with it though!
Few sports capture the international imagination in the way football seems to; perhaps the combination of it being a team sport you can play alone in your back garden or with a few friends in the street means that it transcends most barriers. The enormous culture of celebrity and money must help but the desire to be able to kick a ball with skill clearly goes back way before that; even with only the one brother and an all girl school, I know all too well that hero-worshipping players and aspiring to be them is what childhood sport is about for many young football fans. In our house now it is just the same, only with Jessica Ennis and Beth Tweddle and Rebecca Tunney heading up the honours list.
What impresses me most is when the cash rich sports plough time and money back into community and youth, taking sport and the desire to try to achieve out to children to encourage them to aim high and be as good as they can personally be. I know what it meant to my girls when they got to meet gymnastics and rugby sports people and I also know it matters more than anything for kids to be encouraged to reach THEIR potential, regardless of whether they are top flight material. Samsung’s Dream the Blues campaign is about working with Chelsea FC Youth Football Camp inspiring the next generation of football players. Across four continents and eight different countries, football-loving youths from age 9 to 13 are given the opportunity to stretch themselves to the limits of their potential. Since 2007, the program has already benefited more than 5,000 youths across the world and this year foundation coaches from Chelsea will visit Vietnam, China and Colombia honing potential young players with skills drills and mini games, refining their control, shooting, dribbling, and passing with other kids in their age group.
Disclosure: this is a sponsored post written for the Samsung/Chelsea FC Dream the Blues campaign.