Monday, December 2, 2013

November goes out fighting

How fast the calendar fills up with things we have to go to.

First, at Mark Lodge's invitation, Lesley and I went to the S Glos sports awards evening at BAWA. And what a grand evening that was. I had no idea that BAWA even had a ballroom, let alone how big it is. Lots of people there that we knew and Geoff Twentyman to give out the awards. Not my favourite broadcaster, but maybe that's just because he rattles on about football and I find his voice grating.

Mark was up for two awards and came away with one. Very well deserved. Interestingly, the award for Young Sportsperson of the Year involved two boys with connections to Yate & District, Adam Brooks was one of the three nominees and Tom Scammell, who we all remember as a good sprinter, won it. He is now part of the British Cycling academy (if that's what they call it). So well done to Adam.

A confession.

When the email comes every year asking for nominations for these awards I scan and press Delete without giving it another thought. Having been to the awards evening, I think this is a serious mistake and we should be nominating our members all over the shop. Clearly there are lots of sports clubs out there with a similar attitude to mine, because not a single rugby club was mentioned. Or basketball. And the only football clubs that showed up were girls clubs.

Saturday saw Lesley and I heading off on athletics business once more. This time to a hotel in Birmingham for the YDL "Reflect and Review" meeting. Not an AGM, you notice, so that they didn't have to take notice of the result of any votes. It was a long day and quite frustrating in many ways.

The basic question about the YDL wasn't addressed: Why do we need it? A few people suggested that the way forward was to move U17s back to the lower league, but that was stamped on pretty firmly, even though there was a good deal of support for it. One lady came up with the priceless line: "The under-17s miss being adored by the younger kids."

The biggest discussion was over the lack of competition for U17s and I think what will happen is that there will be two places for them in track events - or at least some of them - but not for field events. I know very little about field events but I don't understand why it's so difficult to run a field programme for two age groups in less than eight hours. It used to happen in the Young Athletes' League, so what is different? The throws are longer so maybe the measuring takes longer, but can that make so much difference?

I was a little irritated by the way field event people parade their inferiority complexes, as though no-one understands them and they're always being done down. Not in my experience, but as I say, field events are like the Bermuda Triangle as far as I'm concerned.

The day was livened up no end because we had staying with us Lesley's friend from Cornwall, Mo Pearson, and she travelled up to Birmingham with us. If talking was an Olympic event Mo would be in with a serious chance. Fortunately, she is usually very entertaining, knowing all the athletics gossip and not afraid to dish the dirt. If we think we have problems in our club, imagine the difficulties of following the sport from the far end of the toe of Cornwall.

Another discussion at the meeting was about travelling distances. Someone suggested that there should be a limit of 100 miles. That would get Mo's club as far as Exeter! She always offers to host fixtures - but the reply is always the same: Nobody will travel that far. Yet her athletes have no choice but to travel huge distances and often stay overnight. I really do think that people who live in Birmingham or Wolverhampton would do better to make no comment at all on the subject.

Sunday, I abandoned Lesley to the first aid course and went off to my poetry workshop. She emerged after seven hours of it looking shell-shocked and out on her feet. We headed off to Le Passione in Sodbury for supper and a well-earned glass of something alcoholic and tasting of grapes.

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