Wrexham.com ventured down to Yale College yesterday morning to check out the pre-Christmas sporting festivities. As we anticipated, it proved to be an absorbing and action-packed event designed to encourage sporting participation throughout the institute.
Students gathered in the College Sports Hall, located on the Grove Park campus, to partake in a multitude of sporting activities – ranging from cross-bar challenge, netball shoot outs, table tennis and ‘Beat the Buffon’ – a variation of ‘Beat the Keeper’, but with the ‘keeper styled on Italian legend Gianluigi Buffon.
With today’s emphasis on ‘fun’, we spoke to a few of the organizers of the event to find out a little more; and with a frenzied appetite for sporting participation so tangible throughout the country – demonstrated by the 14 million viewers that tuned into the BBC’s Sports Personality of the Year on Sunday night, we wanted to know how Yale College planned to build on the buzz that a London Olympics has generated nationwide.
Today’s activities hoped to encourage new extra-curricular activities offered at the College for next year, whilst forming as part of a pre-cursor to a Wrexham wide sports festival to take place at Glyndŵr University next summer. Delyth Sharples, a Sports Lecturer at the college, enlightened us on the college’s sporting plans:-
“What we’re trying to do with our programme at the moment is create a sports festival and link up with other schools in the area. Today the students can donate money if they want to and enter for a prize, which will help us pay for facilities. I’m looking to organize a festival for mixed hockey, mixed football and mixed netball. Hopefully by getting major sports involved we can expand to others, like Ultimate Frisbee, and get people participating. Basically we’re trying to get people more involved in physical activity.”
“This is a way of showing people what we have to offer in an extra-curricular sense. We’re doing the ‘fun’ bit at the moment and will look to do the more serious side, for them to get involved in teams etc, later on.”
Danielle Coxey, another of Yale College’s sports lecturers, was keen to stress that today’s festivities were merely the beginning of the department’s plans to integrate the rest of the college into extra-curricular sporting activities.
‘We thought we’d do a Sports festival towards Christmas, as a bit of a treat for the students. Myself and other members of staff have taken on the lunchtime clubs, currently I’m running girls’ football and a boxer-size class, whilst football and recreational badminton and table-tennis have also been covered. With those kicking off we want to publicize them more, and stress that they’re not just for the sports students, they’re for everyone.’
“We’re hoping next year to do handball, something that they’ve not done before, rather than football or netball. Frisbee would be something different, and we’ll maybe do dodgeball as well. We’re hoping to span out to the rest of the college as a lot of it will cross over with Welsh baccalaureate.”
“The emphasis is very much on fun at this point. The girls’ football team started off with four, and now we have ten participating. It doesn’t matter if you’re not very good, just come along. It’s about fitness as well; we’ve got a competitive netball team, but we also have a lot of girls that just want to have some fun. Hopefully after Christmas we’ll start a recreational set-up - come with friends, have some fun, get fit.”
Ahead of Yale’s merge with Deeside College in 2013, the opportunities to take advantage of their renowned sporting facilities are palpable, as Danielle pointed out:-
“There’s definitely potential with the merger to be bigger and better. They have excellent sports facilities, so hopefully this can go across both campuses. Hopefully we’ll be renowned for having good facilities and opportunities for our students to take part in sport.”
If 2012 has proved to be a watershed moment for sports in schools, then 2013 will reap the benefits.