Last week I had the pleasure of presenting some of the awards at the AAA Sports annual awards evening at the Rainton Meadows arena.
It was an evening to celebrate all of the kids, adults and coaches who take part in Gymnastics, Trampoline and Cheerleading across the city.
When I arrived I really didn’t know what to expect, but my goodness, I was blown away, and for two main reasons.
First ,I was beyond impressed with the cheerleading groups that performed. For being so young especially, these girls were incredible. They were strong, confident and brave (the height that they were throwing each other up in the air was unreal) and they did all of the routines with super big smiles on their faces.
The other aspect of the evening that I loved was the sheer volume of young people that were involved in the club, which I learned on the night has just become the biggest gymnastics club in the north east.
Head Coach, Andi, and his team have clearly put a lot of time and energy into engaging young people in the sports they offer and the buzz in the room was brilliant.
It’s businesses and clubs like AAA Sports that are making, and I’m sure will continue to make, a positive impact on on the young people in Sunderland.
As a city, region and country, our kids have never been as inactive as they are these days. They sit down way too much, whether that be at school or at home, and without sounding like an old bore, they aren’t half as active as me and my friends were when I was at school.
Our kids need to move more and be more active (they also need a better, more nutrient dense diet, but that’s another article all together…and let’s not get started on the standard of school meals). There isn’t enough PE in schools. For most it’s confined to just one hour a week, and by the time you’ve got 30 7 year olds changed, it’s fair to say that it probably chops the time they are physically active for down to around 40 minutes.
So with that in mind, clubs like Andy’s are an essential. They give young people an opportunity to engage in exciting and enjoyable physical activity. Not only that, they learn the importance of commitment, hard work and dedication, while meeting new friends, developing their confidence and social skills.
Yes computers and technology are amazing, I’m a huge fan of them myself, but they will never teach kids the life lessons that sport will. Whether you simply participate for fun or you compete at a high level, sport has so much to offer people of all ages and abilities, and if they can have positive experiences with sport and exercise at a young age then there is no doubt that it will enrich so many aspects of their life for many years to come.
So come on Sunderland, whether it’s joining a club or simply getting out for a walk or a game of rounders in the park, opportunities to be involved in sport are all around us, you’ve just got to give it a go!