There are a variety of ways and means to improve and maintain our fitness, but for our money nothing can really compare to getting involved at one of your local sports clubs.
Local grassroots sports clubs – whether football, cricket, running, rugby, hockey, netball, you name it – can be found in nigh-on every city, town and village in the country and it has been that way for over a century. Some clubs are a genuine cornerstone of their local communities. Not only does it give us the opportunity to play competitive sport, getting involved at your local sports club can greatly enhance that sense of community and belonging.
Sport and Sociability
You will find people of all ages, which benefits us both in a sporting sense and socially. Every club relies on volunteers – i.e. the players themselves, or players’ family and friends. And there is a reason many sports clubs call themselves a ‘Sports and Social Club’; with everyone mucking in to help get the game on, a unique sense of camaraderie develops and the fun rarely stops when the whistle blows or the last ball is bowled.
Local clubs around the country play a vital role in bringing their local community together. Strangers come together, often from a young age, to develop friendships and to learn about becoming part of a team. It also gives parents the opportunity to get involved too – whether it’s helping to run the many teams, coaching or even refereeing / umpiring. You will often find whole families mucking in at their local club, and families remaining part of the fabric of the club for generations.
Ex-Manchester United and England footballer turned TV pundit Gary Neville played for both his local football and cricket clubs and understands perfectly the importance of local clubs.
Kearsley was a well-supported club with over 500 local people turning up to watch the first team games. Everyone was connected in some way or other. I was up at the cricket club seven days a week – it provided us with somewhere to hang out as well as keeping us active. It was great for my parents to get involved with something that I was doing too. My dad became a qualified umpire as a result and he met other people in the area. Some parents helped with maintenance of the ground whilst others helped preparing refreshments. We needed transport for away matches so some parents would give lifts. It was a real sense of community. gary neville
Joining a sport club is mutually beneficial
Many sports clubs are still able to function self-sufficiently, but most still require financial assistance from various funding bodies to continue providing for their members and local community.
It is crucial local clubs are kept afloat, and by joining a local club in your chosen sport you are not only doing yourself a favour, you will be helping the club survive and in turn benefiting your community. It is a vital circle of interdependence.
For almost all sports stars, the local club was where it all began. This summer’s forthcoming Olympic and Paralympic Games will undoubtedly inspire thousands nationwide to take up a sport – and there is no better way of doing it than by signing up for your local club. Get involved!
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