Sunday, 15 March 2015

Great Mums make the perfect role models

The greatest VOLUNTARY (in most cases) job in the world. The most influential job in the world. The most rewarding job in the world!! Never, ever underestimate what YOU can achieve as a Mum – the ultimate role model! Happy Mother’s Day to you all, everywhere in the world. Being a Mum (or Mom) is the BEST JOB IN THE WORLD!

 Junior Sport

Someone said to me this week that a bad volunteer is better than having no volunteer. Really what planet do we live on? You wouldn’t ask King Herod to babysit would you????

Is a bad volunteer better than NO volunteer?  Where junior sport is concerned NO NO NO! It is a question of standards and safety and maintaining those high standards. DBS checks (the replacement for CRB checks) do not assess the suitability of a person to volunteer around young people. These are some examples of what I have witnessed over the years of being involved in junior sport:

  1. Parents assaulting players when the players are children
  2. Verbal abuse of referees by parents
  3. A coach being called a paedophile by an opposition player
  4. Two coaches physically fighting on the pitch.
  5. Mass brawl including players and parents
  6. A coach telling under 8s they were a disgrace and he was ashamed of them just because they didn’t win a game.
  7. Parent threatening to kick an opposition players (a child) head in because he tackled their son
  8. Coaches teaching under 10s to sledge the opposition.
  9. Players biting other players
  10. Police called following a parent attacking a child
  11. The amount of parents that complain that they are having to suffer standing on the touchlines when they could be doing other things!! Really?? There’s nothing I love more than watching my boys having fun.

These are ACTUAL events I have witnessed over ten years of being involved in junior sport. The shocking thing is the majority of the incidents have not actually involved the children playing the sport. The majority of the incidents have been coaches, touchline managers, club officials all of which are also PARENTS. How about leading by example? 

My son has been racially abused and targeted by teams on so many occasions. Whilst its heart breaking to go through I have always trusted the disciplinary processes to deal with the matters. Sadly, for whatever reason some people are allowed to continue with their abuse without action being taken against them. I think I have a theory for this. Volunteers are needed for sport so anything practically goes. THAT IS NOT RIGHT.

We all sign up to the Respect campaign – we have players, parents and officials codes of conduct yet very little is done when things go wrong. It is time we weeded out the trouble causers and say ‘thank you but goodbye’. That is when you truly get a terrific junior sport environment. We should have a zero tolerance approach to any kind of bullying but especially from adults on children. We should be checking if people are suitable to be role models for children. I see so many adults absolutely knocking children’s confidence and not building them up. There are so many terrific volunteers who work tirelessly, selflessly to provide a safe, happy and nurturing environment but that is undermined by those who refuse to follow the rules or put the children first. Many terrific volunteers walk away because they won't get involved in the loutish behaviour.

It is fabulously rewarding to be a volunteer and the majority of people who get involved work tirelessly and really do put the CHILDREN first. However, there is a small minority that spoil junior sport and prevent children from flourishing in what should be THEIR environment.

As the new rugby league season starts, I ask, NO I beg that people just behave themselves. These two images appeared on Facebook this week and they perfectly sum up how I feel about junior sport.


I also ask junior clubs, the league management and the governing bodies to remember not everyone is cut out to be a suitable role model for children OR even work around children. A zero tolerance approach will push the sport forward and make it available to every child.

If you would like to volunteer, please ask yourself if you can follow the guidelines set down by the sport, if you have the right attitude to work with young people, if can you inspire young people to flourish AND more important of all, can you ensure children HAVE FUN!

We had our launch night for the Academy on Friday and the presentation reminded me of why I love rugby league and why the rugby league family is so important to me. The sport has given me so many memorable moments in my life. Wes begged me to let him play the sport and I did. Look where it has led to. Sheffield Eagles is a wonderfully, family orientated club with the right ethos that fits us as a family. The sport isn’t just about what happens on the pitch, it’s how my young boy becomes a respectful, fully grounded and considerate human being. That is why I want my boys to be in the sport and why I have fought tooth and nail to ensure the sport is not blighted by bad behaviour from adults that should, quite frankly know better. Be the one that your child is proud to have on the touchline. Be the one that sets the example for fair play and sporting behaviour. 

I'll put the soap box away now

Mid-week, I had a great chat with someone who doesn’t really know my life story and how I became a writer. It was great because, without them knowing, they inspired me to keep going just by their own enthusiasm and encouragement. 

It’s tough being a single parent especially when it was not by choice. You constantly question whether you are doing the right thing. Speaking to this person and sitting in the Academy meeting on Friday, gave me such reassurance that I am absolutely doing the right thing. Then, yesterday came the ultimate affirmation. Lucas gave me a cuddle and said thank you. I asked him what the thank you was for and he said it was for being a great Mum, a best friend and someone that listens to him and stands up for him. He said, "you lifted the weight off my shoulders." He always knows how to reduce me to a quivering wreck. He also made me a video clip of his favourite moments together. Truly inspiring. NO MORE DOUBTS.


I’ve done so much this week, focusing on editing Beyond the Lies. I’ve also decided to have a go at writing a screenplay rather than a book. I have a manual and some free software. I’ll let you know how I get on.

I’ve also found a Masters course at the local university. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

Beyond the Past is selling well. You can read the 1st three chapters FREE here. Links to buy the book are:

Pegasus Publishers
Amazon UK
Amazon US

Or you can order from your local bookshop. The ISBN number is : 978-1-84386-789-0

Lots of work to do this week and a plan for once! Wonder if the plan will be followed, I doubt it!

Have a great week and enjoy every moment of your life. If you are lucky enough to be a Mum (Mom), give yourself a huge pat on the back and have a great day. You are simply the best role models your children could ask for.

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