Like the majority of parents, I want my children to grow up active, with a healthy interest in sport and outdoors. I want them to understand nutrition and its impact on our bodies.
I want them to enjoy the feeling of working hard and having fun whilst they do so.
This weekend I got to see them develop more of a taste for competing and playing all different sports.
This weekend we went to SportsFest 2014.
It was incredible.
SportsFest is in its second year of running. In short, it is a festival of sport. Where sporting icons such as Will Greenwood, Martin Johnson, John Barnes take to the fields to coach the kids. Sharing a passion for sport that is infectious for all and making sure everyone has a chance.
The whole weekend was perfectly structured, the kids were put into small groups of other children their own age. They were then given the opportunity to attend master classes with professionals and a legend.
Owen loved every second, he thrived on the action, inhaled every word the coaches said, became tongue tied with the legends and discovered a love of tennis (Thanks Pat Cash).
I had worried about Molly. Last year she would have thrown herself into every activity, but this year has been hard for her. With a diagnosis of CRPS on top of her diabetes I was desperately concerned that she wouldn’t join in. That her crutches would hold her back and her confidence would fall.
I underestimated her, and I under estimated SportsFest.
She joined in rugby, tennis, hockey, cricket and took on the rowing challenge. She even climbed up the rock wall. She astounded me, made me cry happy tears, and proved to me she will beat this pain condition. Each of the legends commented on her bravery as she put her crutches to one side and hobbled through the sport.
For the younger ones?
At four, libby-Sue was too young to join in the coaching. Yet she was far from bored. She begged to join the creche, and refused to leave once signed in. She was thrilled by magicians, balloon makers and all the team at Tinies.
When I could prise her away to play with me, she laughed in merriment whilst building sandcastles, tried her hand at hockey and enhanced her catching skills.
As night fell on saturday, she came into her own. With Luke Friend, from X Factor, leading on vocals, Libby-Sue danced the night away. Having to be dragged to bed when her older siblings complained of tiredness, she was still singing as her eyes closed in sleep.
And for the parents?
I loved the weekend, and could have happily just been a spectator, viewing it all through my children’s eyes.
However SportsFest is for the grown ups too!
Clay pigeon shooting, champagne drinking. netball playing, wine tasting, and dodgeball dodging.
My highlight was being coached to perform by Martin Johnson when I was in his dodgeball team.
We lost, I’m sure he won’t hold it against me!
Playing netball was immense, a sport I have not touched since primary school, and I still almost remembered the rules. The ones I forgot, England player, Lindsay Keable was quickly able to remind me.
I needed no support on the wine tasting – I could almost claim legend status myself.
SportsFest was a fantastic weekend and one I would highly recommend to anyone looking to get active with their kids. It offers fun, relaxation, a change to meet sporting legends as VIP areas are strictly banned.
The day is packed with sporting sessions but allows plenty of time to wander around the festival, playing on the stands and having a go at some great competitions.
Ticket prices include food and some drink, a camping pitch, and the food is good, courtesy of Jamie Oliver. The champagne is also excellent!
The whole event was held in the beautiful setting of Wormsley on the Getty familys estate.
We left more united in our love of sport, we left knowing each other a little bit better, and we left exhausted, with nothing left in the tank!
I for one will definitely be there, and I am practicing my dodgeball skills before then!
An enormous thanks to SportsFest for allowing us to review the event. Watching my kids thrive was emotional and beautiful. Watching my daughter walk without crutches for the first time in months was all down to this event. For that I can’t even find the words to express my gratitude.