We have athletes in our town who have sacrificed a great deal to achieve their goal to be selected to play for their country, but success when it comes, does so with a hefty price tag firmly attached. The moments in the spotlight and the adulation of the crowds is insignificant compared to the years of training, driving thousands of miles to different venues and training camps just so the coaches can see if you have what it takes to represent your country in your chosen discipline.
Some sports have a high profile and readily attract sponsorship which takes some of the financial pressure off the athletes themselves allowing them to concentrate on what they do best which is excelling at their chosen discipline at the highest level.
Sports such as water polo have to try and generate their own sponsorship to make their dream a reality. We are lucky to have several junior and senior water polo players who have national status but with the dream comes a reality check of the sometimes crippling personal financial costs involved in putting on a GB tracksuit and representing your country.
These athletes, for that’s exactly what they are, have to pay for the pleasure and pride of flying our flag. Driving the length and breadth of the country is one thing but when they are selected to represent our country in international competitions the costs involved can quickly escalate to become thousands of pounds. If no sponsorship is available the athletes and, in the case of the junior squads, their parents must provide the money out of their own pockets.
Very few people or companies can afford to commit large sums of money in the form of sponsorship but would £1.00 break the bank?
Would £1.00 make a difference? It would if every person in the town could gave £1.00. A pound per week could be in excess of £20,000 per week and if you extended that for just one year the total amount raised would be over a £1,000,000.
A silly dream; but in the words of Margaret Mead, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world; Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has”. A silly unrealistic dream I know, but it’s team work that makes the dream work.
Cllr Phillip Hawkins