Some of the more observant readers of these reports might recognise that I try to always write them in the third person; “we” or “the judoka”. So please excuse me in that this report will be a touch different in that I use the first person. This is not an ego trip or a way of overstating my contribution, but more a reflection that in this particular instance, there is a large weight lifted from my shoulders.
We have been reporting on the phenomenal successes of the club and it really is a reflection of what the club stands for, the efforts of the team behind the scenes and the judoka themselves. From our first senior Green belt to a first International gold: what a seemingly never ending stream of noteworthy news! In amongst that, we announced that Drake Judo Club obtained Sport England’s & the British Judo Association’s Clubmark award.
One of the key pieces of the Clubmark jigsaw was a Schools-2-dojo link with Whitchurch Primary School, where both of my daughters attend. The link was established through keeping the school informed with Lottie’s events, both the successes and the learning opportunities. A chance conversation with the Headmistress and voila, a link was established.
The Clubmark application itself has represented over a year of work, including a week at Christmas of my annual leave. Creating a Club Constitution caused many nights of consternation but not as much as getting the club coaching qualifications checked! I must thank my employers, Princess Yachts, for generously allowing me free use of the colour copiers. I dread to think of how many reams of paper I got through. So, receiving the certificates and the congratulatory letter was a double edged sword. On the one hand, it meant that I’d got us over the line and all the chasing and lobbying was worthwhile. On the other, it raised a question of “what do I do now?”
Firstly though, I had to give the certificates out, so Lottie was enlisted to present her Headmistress with the Schools-2-Dojo link certificate which she did on the stage at the School’s Summer Fair. The Clubmark Certificate and the Club’s Schools-2-Dojo Certificate were also duly presented in the middle of the Saturday training session at the Lifecentre.
So back to that question of what to do next, well of course, Ross had the answer in quoting Winston Churchill:
“Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.”
What a beginning it has been.
So, phase two of the Development role and boy, is there lots to get stuck into:
A link with Marjons and access to their impressive sports science labs, facilities, students and who knows, maybe a satellite club and a Clubmark Black Belt link ….
A link with our hosts at Tavistock College, an afterschool club and maybe another Clubmark Black Belt link ….
Organise the first Drake Judo Club competition ….
And my primary job of ferrying Lottie to judo training and competitions; a trip to Nationals, back to attending Western Area sessions! No rest for the wicked.
I hope that you’ll all excuse my indulgence with my reporting but there are not many things that I feel such a personal connection too. Drake Judo Club has really taken over my family’s life and I wouldn’t change it. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.
Buckle up everyone, we’ve not even got warmed up yet!