By Tom Rawcliffe
The School Games has six values – determination, honesty, passion, respect, self belief, and teamwork – and that perfectly sums up what I saw on Tuesday.
Stanley Park was basking in the sunshine as it held the 13th SPAR Lancashire School Games where over 2,000 pupils got the chance to represent their borough in sporting competition: something which they certainly all took pride in.
The day, organised by Active Lancashire, saw children compete in 15 different competitions simultaneously throughout the day, with School Games Organisers and over 300 volunteers manning each station.
I got there nice and early – at a time of day I’m shamefully not particularly accustomed to – to help set things up alongside an astonishing number of SGO’s, volunteers and other staff. The work that goes on behind the scenes to make the day possible really is remarkable.
The 148 schools started to filter into the athletics track in time for the opening ceremony which didn’t disappoint. I’m not going to lie to you, I didn’t catch a minute of it as I was too busy frantically trying to locate some volleyballs (they were found), but I hear it was great.
Once the ceremony was over and done with – and the volleyballs were blown up – the schools dispersed and made their way to their stations, readying for their day of sport.
I was blown away by the array of events that were going on all over Stanley Park, with the traditional track and field (Quad Kids) being accompanied by more unfamiliar activities such as angling and orienteering.
There were enough competitions going on all around the park to make you feel incredibly jealous. And really quite lazy.
Despite the variety of sports, all of the stations shared one common theme: they were filled with smiling children simply having fun with their friends.
A lot of my day was spent at volleyball with Lee Cadwallader, who summed the Games up perfectly: “The winner for me is a bit of a by-product; it’s always nice to do but this today is a great celebration of everybody’s hard work to get this far.
“All the different activities that we have gives every child the opportunity to represent their borough and pull on their borough colours.”
The Games not only gave children the platform to take part in sport, but it also allowed pupils to showcase their talents in the awards ceremony which was presented by Rock FM.
Some excellent performances from Britain’s Got Talent stars Flakefleet Samba band, St. Mary’s Primary School and many more showcased the talent there is across the county.
Once all the medals had been handed out, and Team Chorley had been crowned overall winners of the Games, everybody from athletes to Organisers to volunteers no doubt went home and put their feet up after what was a truly brilliant celebration of sport.
Is it too early to start the countdown to next year?