Saturday, 17 May 2014

Junior Sport or parent's political playing field….

Last Friday we found out to what extent some parents and coaches are prepared to go to stop a CHILD from playing a sport they have played since they were six year old AND try to prevent a CHILD from fulfilling a Scholarship opportunity. To say it backfired on them is an understatement but it was truly disgraceful behaviour. You don't have to be an expert in the field of child welfare to know that psychological abuse is as bad, if not worse than physical abuse. There was a pattern that formed in the abuse we received, always being after a training night or after a match day. We put up with it because, naively we thought it would have an adverse affect on the scholarship but they could not have been any more supportive. 

The constant drip fed insults and abuse was laughable at times but in the end we were forced out of an amateur club just because my son worked hard enough to get a place at a scholarship. The scholarship is a development programme and there are NO guarantees that he will progress to the next level. We know that and we accept that. All the child wants to do is play rugby league, it IS that SIMPLE. 

We’ve taken months of abuse that we have tried to rise above. We have turned up to training and matches and my son has always given 100% even after being told by his amateur coach and junior secretary that he wasn’t matching up to their expectations of a scholarship player, whatever those expectations may have been because they certainly were not articulated! In addition,the previous week, my son prevented a certain club fine by turning ADULTS off the field of play and restraining the coach, when they tried to intervene in a brawl. Amateur rugby league is supposed to be fun isn't it? Let me make it clear though, the majority of rugby league clubs are fully supportive of the scholarship programme and why wouldn't they be? The common interest is our love of rugby league and the game can only survive and flourish with players who are prepared to put their body on the line week in week out and make personal sacrifices to succeed.

Yet, Friday evening, a couple of hours after I posted a positive tweet of how great our week had been, we received an email kicking him out of the club for lack of commitment and not having ‘team spirit’. This is because the weekend before (yes a full week went by) he had a game with his scholarship on the Saturday, played half of the first half and all of the second half until he took a knock to the nose which wouldn’t stop bleeding. He didn’t play the Sunday for the amateur club because of the injury. However he got out of bed and went to support the team at an away game. This apparently constitutes not having team spirit. It is pathetic that this action was taken without a CHILD being given the right to reply or the chance to represent himself.  What made this even worse was it was done FOUR days before the start of his GCSEs. Thank god he has a positive attitude to life and I have deflected pressure away from him in preparation for his exams. I do not exaggerate when I say that this adult behaviour could have resulted in very tragic circumstances.

I cannot understand any parent being jealous of a sixteen year old boy who knows his own mind and wants to get on in their life. You can’t get in and maintain a scholarship place without working hard and showing 100% commitment. I have a son who is fully committed to everything he does and that work ethic, I am proud to say, has been passed down. 

I still can’t believe after months of trolling me on twitter, the main culprit in all of this has been able to manipulate people enough to completely ignore child welfare and disciplinary rules and common decency.  The energy put into this witch hunt could have been put to so much more worthy causes. Rugby league is a wonderful game and community. The whole ethics of the game are based around hard work, team work and being the best YOU can be. Clearly some adults missed those life lessons. 

As always, lots of positives have come out of the despicable, negative behaviour and I want to thank all the local community clubs that have contacted me in the last week to offer both my boys places in their clubs. It speaks volumes to me and makes me so proud that people go out of their way to invite us into their community. Thankfully both boys will be back playing the game they love shortly. It hasn’t put us off following our dreams, it’s just made us more determined to succeed.I have also started working on research into young adult welfare and mental wellbeing. Watch this space...

I wanted to highlight this today for two reasons. Firstly, if anyone else is suffering in silence, in any sport or any part of your life, please feel free to leave a message or email me via my website I will help anyone to NOT go through what we have been through. DON'T SUFFER IN SILENCE!!

Secondly, to eradicate sport of the juvenile behaviour by ADULTS. One thing I have learnt from Liverpool Mums is to stand up for my children. Don’t get me wrong, if the boys were in the wrong they would be told in no uncertain terms. The boundaries of behaviour were set when they were young, the penalties for crossing those boundaries are clear and they know the penalties will be enforced. Exactly how it is in sport. However, they also know they have my unequivocal support when wrong is done to them and know the importance of fighting for truth and justice. 

I ask, no, beg all parents involved in junior sport NOT to be abusive to anyone whether it be coaches, referees and players, but especially not CHILDREN. Encourage children to be a part of something brilliant. After all they have got themselves out of bed, prised themselves away from their XBox and are playing a very tough, physical game. Be the shining example for your child and believe me, positive behaviour is infectious.

All children and young adults have the opportunity to be what they want to be BUT it isn’t handed to them on a plate. You have to want it, work for it and be prepared to make lots of sacrifices to get it. As a Mum it is my job to support, nurture and advise, but NOT pressure them. My son posted the following to his twitter page when we received the horrible email:

It says it all for me.

Beyond the Past

I am so pleased the book is being received so well. It makes me so proud. This week I have been continuing to work on marketing of Beyond the Past and working on the sequel Beyond the Lies.

In addition I am delighted to confirm I have accepted a kind invitation to be a guest speaker at the Local Education Trust’s inaugural Literary Festival in July. Full details will follow shortly.

My website includes news and events as well as the first three chapters of Beyond the Past, FREE. Feel free to pop over to have a look. 

You can purchase the book from Pegasus Publishers ; Amazon UK ; Amazon US OR ORDER FROM YOUR LOCAL BOOKSHOP.

Another Book Idea

I have about eight book outlines now and not enough time to write them!! I will keep going and never stop. The future is looking really bright for all of us and I hope you will all take the leap of faith and follow your own dreams.

Life is too short to let other people’s insecurities stop you. GO FOR IT!!

Have a fabulous week. Thank you for all your support and love. Keep it coming, I love it.

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