New places can be scary

school to workBoth safe and challenging places are good places to be.

We’ve had some 15 year old work experience students with us this term and it reminded me of when I was a teacher and was visiting students in their work placements.

In school, in a familiar environment and amongst their friends, young people are confident and feel safe to be themselves. It’s a place where they can shine or it might mean it gives them the confidence to be badly behaved!

In the unfamiliarity of an adult workplace, in new surroundings and with adults all around, it can be a scary place but also a place where new skills can be learned, inspiration can be found and character built.

We often need others to push us beyond our own expectations of where we thought we would reach. We may need to go out of our comfortable and safe environment, to a place where we can find the limits of our character, skills, endurance and faith.

We also need someone to help us get there and continue. Someone whom we can trust, a guide and encourager, a friend and a truth teller.

I have mine, who is yours?

Where’s home?

HomeMany of us will be going away this summer, taking a break somewhere near or far. I’m off to France.

When travelling we see people outside of our usual home town and what’s usual for them feels unusual for us. What’s exciting for us may be mundane for them. We often feel, think and act differently when we’re away from home.

It’s the familiar things which make us feel confident, safe and most able to be ourselves. Where no-one knows us we may feel more able to take a risk or do something we don’t usually do at home.

Is there a better place than amongst those whom we love and where we have a sense of belonging, where we feel at home?

A sports team can be a place like this, if it’s functioning well and has the right values. Knowing we are loved, valued and accepted for who we are and what we contribute to the whole is an important part of our well being.

We may be a small part but with others we make a whole and we are all of equal worth. We should all have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honoured, every part rejoices with it.

There’s no place like home when home is where we are loved, where we belong and where the needs of others are as our own needs.

Persevering is not easy (especially in this heat)

heat-exhausted-runnerI’m not a great fan of the hot weather. Low to mid 20s are my limit, so the last few weeks have been too hot for me, but I’ve persevered and gone about everything as usual.

Made me think how easy it is to give up.

Giving up is very easy, we can do it without even trying. Doing something worthwhile usually takes effort. Persevering to the end, through failure, missed goals or letting people down definitely takes a lot of effort.

In sport, to become a champion always takes perseverance. People don’t become winners on the first attempt, it usually takes many years out of the public gaze and even many years in the public eye losing and almost getting there before the time finally comes when the trophy can be lifted or the medal is placed around a neck.

We didn’t see David Beckham or Jonny Wilkinson kicking thousands of balls on their own after others left. We didn’t see Andy Murray hitting innumerous balls over nets. Many of us hadn’t heard of Bradley Wiggins until he won the Tour de France. I’m sure they all failed a lot, but the more they persevered the more they were successful.

What we do mostly in secret produces what is seen in public. What we sow we will reap.

What will I need to persevere in this week?

England win the first Ashes test, but was it fair play?

We all like to be treated fairly. Go to any school playground, sports pitch or indeed many homes and before long you’ll hear ‘it’s not fair!” shouted loudly and with much passion. We all have a natural sense of justice , and we automatically know when we are on the receiving end of a referee’s wrong call, a parent’s decision going against us or a teacher/boss telling us off when we were innocent.

But how often do we admit to doing something wrong when no-one else notices, even if someone else is blamed? When the victims of our unfair play are shouting ‘it’s not fair’, how ready are we to admit to being in the wrong?

Perhaps Stuart Broad would be a good person to ask. In England’s second innings of the first test of the Ashes, most people think he hit the ball (it was clear on the replay) and he should have been out, but the umpire didn’t give him out and he stayed in, despite the shouts of the opposition Australians. Some people thought he should have done the right thing and ‘walked’, admitting he was out. However, others say, “Always play according to the umpire’s decision” and that’s the right thing to do, usually…

Broad staying in went a long way to helping England win. Did Broad himself think he had hit? His team mate, Jonathan Trott was given out by the umpire even though the replays showed he wasn’t out, ‘so that’s justice’ they say. Australians have a reputation for not admitting to being out, not walking. Agar was run out when he had 6 runs, he wasn’t given out and went on to get 98 in Australia’s first innings.

We all like to be treated fairly and perhaps the lesson from this cricket match is that if we don’t like being on the receiving end of injustice or unfair play, we should always do the right thing in an honest manner and treat others in a way we ourselves want to be treated. Wouldn’t that make for a better world?

Competition can be good and bad

Like most things, competition can be good and bad.  People (especially men) have always competed, for many reasons and for many beliefs but not always with the right attitude.

Many years ago competition for land and resources often meant going to war or conflict with our neighbour. Despite this still happening in too many places around the world today, most of us don’t experience it at first hand. Sport in one sense,  has provided a healthy outlet for controlled aggression and a desire to win, to overcome an opponent.

To compete wholeheartedly at any level, we need to be passionate, determined and focused. We need to control our efforts and attitude in a positive way to get the most from our performance. Too often though these positive virtues spill over into a negative, win at all costs attitude and we become more warlike than we should be.

Let’s play sport to win, not in a negative, underhand or unhealthy way, but in a manner which promotes what is good, positive and virtuous. Let’s get our values right so we can get on well with those with whom we compete.

New things are nice to have, aren’t they?

I’m enjoying looking around our new website – it’s a beautiful thing, even if we do say so ourselves!

New things are nice to have and can even boost our spirits and make us feel better. When they stop being new and just become ordinary, every day things, do they lose that something which made them boost our spirits and made us feel better? Why? They probably haven’t changed, perhaps we have.

It takes perseverance to keep that ‘first love’ going and effort to have the same passion we had at the beginning. When the team we support stops winning it’s easy to give up on it. Just ask a Liverpool FC fan who started supporting the club in the 1970/80s when they were winning lots of trophies -the team aren’t winning trophies anymore.

If something that was once new and exciting and now isn’t, has lost its shine or its ability to provide the excitement it once did, remember why it first caused you to love it and occupy your time with it and may remembering  cause you to relight the fire and give a boost to your spirit!

Welcome to our new website

Kick London has a new website  – we hope you like it and enjoy looking around! We will continue to improve it over the coming months, so please contact us if you have any suggestions or comments. We are aiming to be more connected to our supporters and partners in the future and will use the website to do this.

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