30 Sep Here-for-Sport Here for YOU! A Morning @ the Coventry Building Society (CBS) Arena
Written by Alesha –Year 10 student reporter and edited by Mrs Nguyen
“Sports just isn’t for me!” You may think this but so did I for as long as I can remember. That is before I tried out rowing – especially land rowing!
On Sunday 12th September 2021 Whitley Academy students were given the opportunity to benefit from some expert training by coaches from the University of Warwick rowing team on how to ‘land’ row. Working with the social enterprise ‘Here for Sport’, the students competed in teams on Erg rowing machines and tried to out-perform each other using guidance from their coaches. This was an amazing opportunity offered to Whitley Academy students and other schools across Coventry to try out rowing; a sport not very common in our city.
The event was set outside of the East Wing of the CBS Arena. The weather was perfect: clear skies and sunny spells even on a September morning. We arrived at 10:00am on the spot at the CBS Arena to join the group of familiar student faces, Miss Jones and Miss Nguyen and the ‘Here for Sport’ founder Sam Winton, who had invited our students to improve their rowing skills, whilst he completed his Centurion Challenge. We soon started trying out the machines which was very exciting as most of us had never got the opportunity to try out rowing, especially land-rowing.
Do you know:
Sam Winton – the founder of ‘Here for Sport’ in 2018 – is an Economics and International Relations student at University of St Andrews. Currently Sam is in his final year.
Founded in 1413, the University of St Andrews is Scotland’s oldest and highest-ranking university. In 2001 Prince William attended this University.
Sam has been working with the British Rowing, Sport England and the National Lottery to help fund a rowing club in Coventry
The sole passion of Sam and his team-mates is to promote the vision of a healthier, fairer and more inclusive society.
First things first: the coaches from the University of Warwick rowing team gave us students and parents some tips and advice on how to best use the land-rowing machines as most of us were beginners. While we practised, Sam was completing his rowing 100 kms (around the same distance of Coventry to Oxford) in one epic 8-hour session! This was to raise money for the ‘Here-for-Sport’ enterprise to provide a land-rowing machine facility for the young people of Coventry. This is a big project needing support from across the City to bring rowing to Coventry. You never know this could be the sport for you too!
One of the most exciting things about this event was how the team encouraged parents to go from watching their children having a go at these land-rowing machines to taking part in the event themselves J. They even competed against their own children!
Sam who has been passionate in rowing only since he started university two years ago, spoke to us about the “sport-never-being-for-him” mind-set and confessed he hated sport for most of his childhood. He would do anything to avoid P.E and Football games, until he found the right sport which you may tell was rowing. This gave Sam the idea to create the charity ‘Here-for-Sport’ to help people realise the power of sport to build a better, fairer, and fitter society for everyone.
Personally, I never enjoyed sports, so this was inspiring for me to try out. The Warwick coaches showed everyone how to row, and soon enough, we were all competing each other trying to get the highest scores (which were noted down on a whiteboard on display at the front of the tent). This was a fun experience for all the students’, parents and coaches to have, especially it was our first time. I nervously sat down on the machine chair, listened to the instructions and then had a try out myself. Surprisingly I got the first place in the girls and the under 18s category!
It was so much fun, and I realised it wasn’t that sport wasn’t for me, I just hadn’t found the right one that is until I tried rowing.
What was even more inspiring during this time with the rowing team, was knowing that while I was trying my first attempt on one of the rowing machines, Emma Raducanu, aged 18 and just finished her A levels, just won the US Open, and is now 1.8 million pounds richer! At this precise competition Emma was even considered as a “wildcard.”. Everything is possible, isn’t it?
Thank you to Sam Winton, all the teachers involved, ‘Here for Sports’ and the Warwick Rowing team for giving us this opportunity. Hopefully rowing/ land rowing does become more popular in Coventry so more people can be inspired like me and remember if you think something isn’t for you just give it time and soon, you’ll find the right one.
This is the refection from Miss Jones – Assistant Head Teacher from Whitley Academy…
“Sunday 12th September was a very proud day for me. Seeing our Whitley Academy students participate in a rowing event outside the CBS arena, working alongside members of the University of Warwick rowing club. Not only did those students that attended fully enjoy themselves they also produced some excellent results and showed an excellent aptitude for this new sport.
The event organised by Sam Winton, who alongside our students trying rowing, took part in a 100km row, finally finishing in a time of 7hrs and 54mins, with no breaks or help!
Sam wants to raise awareness of his mission to break down barriers to access to sports in Coventry for its young people, through his social enterprise ‘Here for Sport’. Working alongside Coventry schools, Sam wants to find a sport for all. Sam found it hard himself growing up in Coventry, facing challenges and often giving up. I know this well because Sam is my SON and I am proud of the mission he has created and strives to achieve.
Seeing the excitement of our students alongside my son’s epic challenge was heart-warming. The engagement of our students encouraged Sam to complete his goal. I was also proud to see our Whitley Academy students immersing themselves in this amazing opportunity. Thank you to all students and parents who attended, and a particular thanks to those parents that also took part and had a go.”
“Believe you can and you’re halfway there.”- Theodore Roosevelt (U.S President from 1901-1909)
Thank you for reading this blog.