Sport offers such wonderful chances
Regular readers to this column will know what a big sports fan I am, football in particular.
Even watching every Ipswich Town home game for three seasons has failed to put me off – the sight of seeing my nine-year-old’s debut season for the Bury Town Bulldogs more than compensates for that.
Away from the glitz and glamour, once again I’m not referring to Portman Road, I simply think sport – any sport – offers so many opportunities for health, wellbeing, confidence-building, team work, making friends, having fun. The list goes on.
My four-year-old boy is simply football mad and I can’t hide the fact that I am proud to see him playing ‘car football’ before quickly picking his team from the latest football cards or telling me who wears number 30 for West Ham.
I know that is exactly what I was doing at his age – and beyond.
But it wouldn’t matter if it was football, rugby, tennis or any other sport. Those attributes listed above all apply when you play sport. And above all else, they just have to be happy.
If you are an eager Bury Free Press reader, and I would recommend that you should be, you are probably reading this at the same time as I have the privilege of attending an event aimed at giving disabled youngsters a chance to participate in sport.
I’m sure there are a few people who have never heard of the Panathlon charity. I can count myself in that number up to about four months ago.
That all changed when I attended such a sports day for disabled youngsters of primary school age.
For many, they had never tried sport before, let alone a fun competition against other schools and areas.
The sheer joy on their faces was a sight to behold.
Just like my sons, they thought nothing of getting stuck in, relishing trying something new and beaming with a happy blend of achievement and fearlessness.
The difference is that my boys, and I have to confess myself at times, can take our sporting opportunities for granted.
There is plenty of choice over team and plenty of choice over sports.
Some families don’t have that luxury.
That is what makes Panathlon so special. The charity puts on these events all over the country - providing sporting opportunities to over 10,000 disabled young people every year.
Some are simply aimed at fun, others have an element of healthy competitiveness.
Either way, it is a wonderful opportunity and one that I can’t wait to witness once again.