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8 reasons why all boys should play team sports

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I recently read a brilliant article written by a 20 year old female rugby player Tesni Phillips titled ‘I would NEVER let my daughter play rugby’. http://rugbyunited.org.uk/content/i-would-never-let-my-daughter-play-rugby She wrote the article after an ignorant parent commented on how they would never let their daughter play rugby.  Rather than ignore the comment the rugby player details how much her sport of rugby has impacted on her life and what that person’s daughter will miss out on.

This article spurred me on to write my own account of playing netball for the past 30 or so years with breaks for injuries and babies which you can read here https://northernscribbler.com/2016/01/19/8-reasons-why-women-should-play-team-sports/378977_738329132565_1016327423_n

But I also wanted to write my own account of being a parent of two boys who both play team sports. Not being a ‘pushy’parent but I  do know the value of playing in team sports as I continue to play in mine, and they simply cannot be overstated.

One thing that is certain with team sports and that is the participant will experience injuries, will experience losing games, a dip in performance may result in being benched, some coaches suck and the player might hate him/her and think that they are treating them unfairly.

All of these are good, in my opinion as they provide a solid foundation to real life, something which I think that the current state of sport in schools has lost. Sports Days were the only competitive aspect to my schooling, and winners were rewarded and losers felt loss. Both of which are lacking in todays school now that all and sundry adopt the ‘it’s not the winning that counts, it’s the taking part’.

My home has experienced broken arms, torn ligaments, fractured fingers, black eyes and twisted ankles though various injuries as a sporting family participating in ice-hockey, lacrosse, athletics, judo, tae kwon-do and netball.

I would never tell either of my children that they can’t play contact sports like that parent of the rugby girl did. Participating in sports has given them a wealth of experience, skills, memories and most importantly FUN. That’s all I ever wanted from the day I became a parent was to make sure that my children had fun, made memories and have a childhood to remember, in particular that they were permitted to experience life rather than be wrapped up in cotton wool and kept away from the world.IMG_0003

Okay, I will admit to being a tiny bit pushy. Both of my boys were forced to participate in swimming lessons from an early age. A lifeskill that I didn’t take lightly, given that I was the only child in my primary school who couldn’t swim. I recall the sheer embarrassment of having to wear arm bands as a ten year old and being taunted for that. I hated water, hated swimming and it took me to the grand old age of 33 to learn to swim properly. Firstly I didn’t want my kids to experience the embarrassment of being the only non-swimmer in their class when it came round to school swimming lessons. Secondly, I wanted them to enjoy holidays abroad and be able to swim in the sea, which was the main reason that I took lessons so I too could join in the fun in the Med.

From an early age both my boys were told to find sports that they would like to try for themselves. Basketball, football, tennis, athletics, martial arts and they finally both stuck to ice-hockey and lacrosse. The sport wasn’t important. To experience as many sports as possible is great as long as they stuck with one when they hit their teenage years.

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So here are  8 reasons why in my home we encourage team sports.

1) Happier boys

You cannot argue with research and apparently an athletic student is happier than kids who do not participate in team sports. Good old endorphins help with feeling happy though. I know from a personal point of view that the thought of going to the gym makes me feel miserable, but I never leave the gym feeling unhappy. Teenager boys are also battling with testosterone during puberty and what better way to burn off that pent up aggression than a two hour training session on the ice twice a week. These sessions generally leave my boys so physically exhausted that they can’t be bothered getting grumpy and moody over day-to-day challenges.

2) Common goal
Being part of something that is bigger than themselves is a great thing. There isn’t much opportunity to do that as a child and it’s a great way to prepare for the wide world of work. Teams succeed and fail together and it’s a valuable life lesson being able to experience both the highs of winning, and the lows of losing. Being there for a team mate and also experiencing how it feels for a team-mate to have your back is something that those people who shy away from team sports will never truly understand or undergo.

3) Practice, practice, practice

Sports is the best place to learn about the importance of being determined and practicing to achieve an outcome. With the added incentive of not wanting to let your team mates down it is a valuable lesson in being responsible for others. Each team sport have designated positions which the person taking that role has to fulfil. As a defender in my netball team if I’m not up to challenging for a pass, a deflection or a loose ball then how are the attackers in my team going to do their job.  I also find that there are plenty of excuses to not go to the gym session, but as a member of a team you have to turn out for team practices and matches otherwise the team will be short on players.

4) Expertise

When my youngest son played for his Under 10s ice-hockey team they decided to have a parents vs kids match to which I ended up taking part in. I can barely skate, so to do that and try and control a puck was so difficult. I didn’t realise how difficult it was until I had a go and I came away from that session with an incredible respect for what my sons and husband are able to do on the ice. They really are experts in their sport as they make it look so easy, but trust me it isn’t. They would certainly have never developed such skills in balance, co-ordination, position and control by sitting on an xbox every night or drinking in the park until the early hours of the morning.

5) Keeping out of trouble

Teenagers often get into trouble, and having nothing to do after school and college doesn’t help. More and more they are either sitting around the parks, shops etc with their mates or playing on online games which is equally a rigid sitting position to adopt for long periods of time. At least with team sports there are practices twice a week, matches at weekends and team gatherings which keep them occupied. Having the boys attending many training sessions for very active sports such as ice-hockey and lacrosse means that they are unlikely to develop obesity and health conditions in later life. Not only are they staying out of trouble, they are maintaining a healthy weight and and active body.

6) Learning to lead

Not everyone playing in sports teams will learn to lead, and there will always be cases of those who prefer to stand in the background and let others take the lead. However, sport is a great tool for finding leaders who may not be aware that they possess the skills needed to become a natural leader. Eldest son was asked to captain his under 16s team several years ago. He was reluctant to do this at first. The coach saw leadership qualities in him during practices and thought he would be the perfect youngster to lead the team that season. For each game that he had to captain which involved pre-match talks with the team, liaising with the officials during the matches to giving a speech at the awards night I watched his confidence grow on a monthly basis. This transpired to his part-time employment where he has been given the role as mentor for any new staff. I’m not sure where he would have developed leadership qualities if it hadn’t been for his sports.

7) Sense of belonging to something

I think most people like belonging to something and sports are a fabulous way to introduce youngsters to a family away from their own. High school in particular can be a mine field at times and team sports cut across social divides and increases the number of adults and children that the youngster comes across on a weekly basis. With the increase in single parent families, in particular for boys it can also give them valuable male role models for the child to have. Being part of a team really does give kids a sense of belonging.

8) Memories

Such great memories are made from being part of a sports team. I remember away trips with the netball team at school and colleg, but can barely remember which teacher taught me Maths or Science. My sons have experienced many away trips, weekend aways and social gatherings with their team mates which have given them memories of the sports seasons.

Those are eight reasons that spring to my mind as to why I think that it’s important for boys to play team sports. I’m so glad that mine continue to play in their late teens and early twenties. Not only are they still happy and healthy, but they have developed a strong team and work ethos that might not have been there without this.

Perhaps those hundreds of miles travelled in road trips,hours spent watching training sessions, expensive subs and kit were really worth it all along.

Why volunteer? Haven’t I got enough to do?

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Tomorrow is the first day of the Manchester International Festival as it kicks off with a host of performances ranging from visual shows, musicals to choirs.

Four hundred volunteers have been recruited to make sure that the festival runs as smoothly as possible, and one of those volunteers happens to be me.

Volunteers come in a variety of backgrounds, ages and gender. It’s not the retired person with time on their hands who act as volunteers anymore.

I met a host of people during my MIF induction session on Sunday. Students, teachers, IT professionals, marketeers and yes the retired folk too.image

You see a lot of people think that we’re mad. Working full-time in a very busy job and then volunteering on top of that – why would you do that if you’re not getting paid?

Maybe I am mad.

I’m not only volunteering at the festival, but I have been a volunteer at my local community radio station for nearly two years now too.

Have I not got enough to do? When do I find the time? Why would I possibly do anything extra unless I was getting paid for it?

I’ll tell you why.

Volunteering has given me the chance to learn skills that I never knew I possessed, meet some extraordinary people and be part of something. It has also given me an increase in self-confidence and there’s something rather satisfying about giving back to the community where you live.

Years ago I lacked the confidence to talk to people and walked out of a new job as soon as I realised that the expectation was that I had to talk in a group situation. Now on a weekly basis I host my own show live on the radio and internet http://www.wfmradio.org speaking to many people. I speak in large groups (not very well) but I do it.

That would never have been possible before I became a volunteer at the radio station.

I’ve interviewed local artists, bands, actors, directors and many other interesting and talented people. Again, only possible through the volunteering I do.

One things for sure, I certainly don’t get to do things like that in the day job.

I’m looking forward to my first shift as a Manchester International Festival volunteer. Hopefully if the weather is shining, I’ll get to meet some very interesting characters in Albert Square and there’s even the chance to dust off the sign language as I look after a children’s choir as they sing along to Mr Tumble.

Who else could say they get to do that?
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Writing as a team

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Collaborative Writing

It’s been a while since I wrote about how I am finding being part of the writers group for the radio soap.

Twelve months on and we are a core of six writers, meeting weekly and we have currently written 168 scenes on our brand new community radio soap opera.

It has been an organic process to get to where we are. Twelve months ago there were fifteen writers at the very first session and to be honest it would have been chaos if it had continued to be that number, and I’m not sure that I would have been in it for the long haul either.

As the initial weeks passed by a writer would stop coming to the meetings until we found it to be the same six writers that would turn up each week.

This was a good number of people to have involved in the process. It meant that we were able to really get to grips with the characters that we created, the world that the soap is set in and without a large number of people to get their point across meant that storylining is more of less a discussion rather than a battle.

Within the team there are various expert areas. A stand-up comedian, a short story professional, an actor, a novice and a radio writer/presenter. With our diverse backgrounds I think we get the best from our characters and we all more or less write our scenes with the same tone, and voice.

Our weekly meetings consist of reading through the previous weeks scenes. This is my favourite part as it’s enjoyable hearing the characters come to life and from something that we’d discussed briefly during story lining to actually having full scenes which feed into the overall soap feels like an accomplishment.

The writer of the scene to be read aloud has to talk briefly about the scene, where the conflict is and what is the change from the beginning to the end of the scene. Some scenes are harder than others to do this.

After the read throughs, we then look into the stories for the next week. Where our characters are up to in terms of their story lines and which characters are needed to assist in developing the story further.

We’ve been a writing group for a year now and it has passed really quickly. The actors were cast before Christmas and recordings are made each week. It’ll be really good to finally hear it on air though, something that I am looking forward to.

A number of things that I have learned from my experience of being part of a collaborative group of writers.
• Discussions amongst more than one person can generate a raft of ideas.
• If a character hasn’t got a solid back-story and biog then writers can really struggle when it comes to putting that character under conflict. It’s important that this is nailed down at the very start of introducing this character otherwise it never seems believable.
• Drop-box is a valuable tool for sharing ideas and scripts.
• Being part of a writing team keeps you motivated. We meet on a Monday night and on several occasions when I’ve had a really tough day at work, what I’ve really wanted to do is go home to rest. Knowing that there are five people relying on you means that you have to attend. I’ve never been to a meeting and not come away feeling motivated again.
• Being taught to listen to others and let go of your own great ideas if the group decide that something else works better.
• Learning to compromise and not feel precious about an idea.

I’m sure there will be more to blog about as the year progresses.

Once I get the official airtime date I will ensure I update this site.

 

Farewell Facebook

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Currently I’m experiencing a common 21st Century problem of facebook addiction.

It’s not the site that I’m addicted to, as day by day I find it increasingly annoying but it’s the habit that has incurred since having the app on my phone and tablet.

  • Sitting in the doctors waiting room – check facebook.
  • Sitting on the bus – check facebook.
  • Waiting for a lift – check facebook.
  • Waiting for one of the kids – check facebook.
  • Finish one bit of work – check facebook.

And really, what am I checking for? What am I hoping to see that will add value to my day? Initially it was the newness of social media and reading all about the people you know. That’s how the habit formed. But now?

When it’s not a list of every single product, or video, or photograph that somebody has liked it’s the oversharing attention seeking status’ that make me cringe.

Occasionally there will be a status update from one of the few people whose presence you appreciate online. The ones that have something worthy of noticing, or post something that interests you and they are the reason you don’t de-activate your account. These are few and far between though.

I was going to deactivate my account last year but after having found a couple of writing groups on there decided to stick with it. If only I’d stuck to my guns last year I could have gone through the cold turkey and it be out of my life completely now.

Those writers groups are now not giving me the inclination to keep online as they too perpetually not only annoy me but make me question myself. People posting about how many pages they’ve written today, articles that they find useful that I have to read and it goes on and on.

What I should be doing is spending less time online reading articles about how to write better and actually get on with my writing.

So where has this dilemma left me?

Weaning myself away I think. First step is getting rid of the Facebook app and Messenger off my phone and keeping it off. That should help me lose the habit of checking everytime I have a spare ten seconds.

I’ll give myself a couple of months to unbreak that habit before I have the dilemma of saying goodbye to it for good.

Unless someone can convince me of a valid reason to keep the account. Don’t all shout at once because I’m sure I’m not the only one to feel this way.

Facebook – it was a blast but now it’s time to bid thee farewell.facebook like

Celebrating Manchester

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Yesterday was the fifth year that Mancunians celebrated “Manchester Day”

The day boasts a mile long parade of various community groups, organisations and clubs through the streets of Manchester.

Attended by a record breaking 20,000, the Manchester Day parade was a successful event. A gathering of Mancunians and visitors to the great city for the one day of the year where we can toast our diverse communities and remember how we prevailed during the riots of 2011.

Parading down the streets of Manchester were Read the rest of this entry »

Farewell 30s

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This week I passed my Masters Degree in Television and Radio Scriptwriting.

It has taken two years and eight months of hard work, tight deadlines but to be totally honest I enjoyed every minute of it so much that it never felt like I was studying at that level.

Having a passion for storytelling and writing, it meant that I had a reason to sit at my laptop for hours on end, buy different coloured writing books to make notes on and spend a ridiculous amount of money on text books.

It is also a good excuse to binge watch fabulous television shows where I’m merely analysing how the storyline runs, how characters conflict etc.

The MA is also a fitting way to say farewell to what has been the best decade of my life so far.

I turn the big 4-0 in September and I’m already trying to think of things I need to plan on completing in my forties. How on earth can I match the past decade in terms of developing as a person?

I don’t recognise me as a thirty year old. Back then my life was all about getting through every day and not suffering with another panic attack, or a bout of depression. Anxiety and low self-esteem were part of my character back in 2004.

I was in an unfulfilling job and seemed to be afraid a lot of the time. Don’t ask me what I was afraid of – perhaps just living? One things for sure I felt stuck in a rut and the only focus in my life were my young children and husband.

Family is of course important but I also felt like I needed more in my life.

Then I had one of those life changing conversations with a work colleague.

I’d always wanted to study for a degree. My colleague had studied for her degree with the Open University when she was a single mother. She was then an Early Years Advisory Teacher, who ended up getting a job in the Grand Cayman islands training their teachers. She encouraged me to study with the Open University too.

“I’ll be 35 by the time I get a degree” I’d wailed to her, to which her response was just the response I needed. “You’ll be 35 anyway – you can either be 35 and with a degree or 35 and without one”.

That moment right there changed my life forever. The person I am sitting on my sofa typing this blog post is not the same person contemplating her future on her 30th birthday.

I graduated as an undergraduate in BA (Hons) Humanities with Media Studies in July 2009, age 34 (combining credits).

I will graduate in July 2014, age 39 with a Masters in Television and Radio Scriptwriting.

I learnt to swim age 33 years old. I can still remember my boys faces when I dived in the swimming pool in Spain and swam under the water with them (instead of my usual clinging to the side).20130821_140843

I went on a Fear of Flying course age 34, my first flight as an adult and since then have travelled to USA, Canada, Spain, Portugal, France, Menorca, Germany, Austria, Italy, Switzerland, Amsterdam and Ireland.

From being paralysed in fear at talking to groups of people, I now present a weekly entertainment show on my local community radio station.

I have a fulfilling job working for a university in Media City where I get to help students on a daily basis. A complete career change for me leaving local government finance to move into Higher Education (wouldn’t have been possible without the degree).

It really has been a metamorphosis of character for me in the past decade and it both worries and excites me at the prospect of the next decade.

Will it be as exciting? Is there anything else I should do to improve my life? Or is this the decade where I should just chill out and appreciate life in general, enjoy the extra time now the children are getting bigger and swim in as many oceans as I can?

One thing is for sure. I’m a firm believer that there are key moments in your life and you can either choose to ignore them, or embrace them and make those changes.

Reflections from the April A-Z Challenge

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I’d like to thank the team that put together this challenge. There were a heck of a lot of people signed up to this and I’d spend several hours each day just reading different blogs which interested me, all through the @AprilA-Z

The reason I decided to take on this blogging challenge in April was mainly to keep me focused and writing each day throughout  the month. I had surgery at the beginning of April so knew that I would be off work for a number of weeks. Having the challenge to focus on each day really did keep me from feeling too sorry for myself whilst I was recovering from surgery.

I decided to have one theme throughout the challenge which was New York City. I visited New York City for the first time last summer. Talk about a dream come true for me, the city lived up to everything I imagined it would be and much more. Since returning home I couldn’t quite bring myself to blog about it as I didn’t think I could do it justice in one blog post.

After all visiting such a city rich in culture and attractions could never be fully written about in one blog post, so doing it in 26 blog posts was even better.

The challenge and the theme also gave me the excuse to go through all of my 1,500 photographs and select my favourites to display with my post for the day..

Thinking about what to blog about each day was something I really enjoyed too. I’d kept a notebook of each day while I was in NYC so I kept referring to that and reliving my wonderful five days.

I wasn’t sure how long it would take me to recover from surgery, and as I’m an active person I knew I had to do something to keep my spirits up. This blog challenge certainly did that, as it made sure I did the thing I enjoy doing each day which is writing. Even bed-bound I still managed to get on the laptop and post every day.

My blog traffic increased throughout the month and I picked up about thirty new followers which was a welcome surprise.

I do enjoy blog challenges, now the difficult part is trying to keep up with interesting blog entries throughout the year.

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