Thursday 27 June 2013

G'Day Sport

Maria Bertelli

Today we held our Sports Day at school. Unlike last year, when it was postponed three times and never actually took place, the weather was kind and it was completed in dry, reasonably warm weather.

Despite me organising the day it went very well. I'm pleased to say that these days the " non-competitive sports day " is pretty much a thing of the past. There were competitive races and events with clear winners. We finished with some relay races which for me are a real highlight as it needs team work and there's excitement right to the finish.

The top performing girl and boy in each year group were duly acknowledged by receiving a certificate of acknowledge. The winning country received the trophy. A great day in which there were some top quality performances from many children in a competitive yet sporting atmosphere.

When you children and parents alike enjoying themselves so much it gives you a real lift and I feel privileged to do the job I do.

We were supported today by students from the local secondary school all of whom bar one used to attend our primary school. It was great to see them again, to hear how well they're doing and watch them interact and encourage our kids. Almost to a man or girl they are all involved in one sport or another with a few at a very high level.

The day was greatly enhanced by the presence of our guest of honour, Maria Bertelli, pictured above. You may recognise her from the Olympics as she played in Team GB's Womens Volleyball Team. More likely though given our love of CAFC you may recall her as a player from the Charlton Womens team that was so successful prior to the mens relegation from the Premier League and the subsequent disgraceful decision to close down the ladies team.

Maria was excellent today spending loads of time with kids, demonstrating some volleyball and generally inspiring the children. Aside from that she was a really nice person much as you'd guess from someone with Charlton connections ! I really hope that manages to achieve her latest aim of representing Team GB in Rio.

Days like to today are wonderfully uplifting and inspiring and serve to remind you that contrary to what the popular press would have you believe kids of today love competing in sport. In addition, the older ones were superb in supporting and encouraging the younger ones.

For the record Australia won but you probably guessed that from the title of this piece. 


  1. Dave I seem to remember staying up to about 1 am watching Maria inspire the girls volleyball team to a rare win - one of my Olympic highlights. I can't remember the position title she played in, but I know she was in a different colour shirt and was phenomenal - the energy level and commitment from her were inspiring.

    On the non competitive front, our local football league, under Kent FA instruction, have announced that non competitive football will be extended from U9 to U10 level, and right up to U14 level in successive years. So in 4 years time there will be no leagues/divisions for U14 players and younger.

    I was a bit stunned by this - of our U12 team half take a keen interest in our league position and half take no notice what so ever. So if we were doing badly, who would this effect? The indifferent lot would be none the wiser, and the former would stop taking an interest I suspect.

    Our team won their division this year and we really celebrated the fact - but we never made them over aware of the table during the season, as we didn't want them to feel pressurised. But I can imagine that in different circumstances..

    After the England U21s exited last week a lot of rubbish was spouted about changing youth football so that we had a better national side. But for 99% of kids youth football is a platform for weekly sport and living dreams - not about delivering a world beating national team.

    Can't help feeling this latest extension of non competitiveness is a step back in the wrong direction.

    Pembury Addick

  2. Phil,sorry I got your name wrong - I am starting to feel like Trigger now....

    Pembury Addick

  3. PA, correct as Maria is a libero player which I understand is a defensive player and as such wears a blue shirt.I agree with some non-competitive football upto a point but agree that to Under 14 level is too far. Sounds like you run your team in a proper manner and sadly not all do. I've been to a couple of local youth football festivals lately which I thought were supposed to be fun. The best comment I heard from one coach was " don't fail ! " shouted at one player. What ? Sure there'll be winners and losers but to suggest to a child because they've not won they're a failure ! Arghhh ! I do wish some of these people would listen to themselves or better the parents spoke up or moved their kids elsewhere !
    Well done on your league win which I imagine was secured playing some decent football in the right way. Congrats ! From this and previous comments you've made it sounds as though you're in it for the right reasons and there's great satisfaction to be had from seeing kids develop. Keep up the good work because more coaches like you are needed out there !