Friday 10th July
Even though i grew progessively more excited for Sports Birmingham throughout the week, Todays start for it was very early. However i woke up excited and motivated at 6:15 for the day ahead.
Thankfully none of my trains were delayed and i arrived at BOA bright and early at 8am to collect the camera equipment and travel to King Edwards High School for girls. The scene that met us when we swung into the school car park was one that was incredibly bright, bubbly and colourful, the staff were all exceptionally friendly and enthusiastic about the sporting day ahead, today was the day the Sports Birmingham for primary schools took place.
After setting up the camera equipment and having a briefing about our roles, we split up into groups of three. This was to ensure there was a media individual, a photographer and a cameraman/ videographer in each group. Myself, Celestine and Nathan were put into a group and immediately set out to film, snap and tweet the opening ceremony. We stood at the front of the ceremony looking out into the crowd, to gain the best angle for photos and were amazed when an array of colour met our gaze. Over 1,000 children between 5-12 had turned up in greens, yellows, oranges, blues, reds or pinks to participate in the event. The children were all very excitable and much more willing to talk to camera than the high school age who were all much too cool for that kind of thing…
Another very exciting part to come out of this day, before we had even hit 10:30, was the interviewing and meeting of olympic and Paralympic champions (and very much celebrities in my sporting eyes) Laura Williams, Mel Clarke and Beth. All three women had inspiring advice to pass on to the youngsters and were also all very successful from this area. Mel Clarke performed in the archery in the 2008 Beljing olympics and won a bronze medal, then went on to win silver in the 2012 London olympics.. (I fangirled..). The warm up for the ceremony was also hilarious but more excellent to see young children happily participating in exercise, which is something i feel this country lacks.
After the games were officially declared i had the brilliant but terrifying job of interviewing the three champions. What if i got a fact wrong and looked stupid? What if my questions weren’t sophisticated enough? What if they weren’t very chatty and talking to them would prove difficult? Its scary stuff. However, when the time came the women were friendly, funny and happy to talk to me, in fact they gave some very lovely and interesting points on the importance of events like todays games in keeping kids active.
After three or four interviews in the VIP area, my team and i headed out to the netball courts to take some shots, videos and blog. This was very exciting for myself personally as i am an ex netball player and absolutely adored it. I loved watching the pupils shoot, talk tactics and loved reminding myself of all the rules (footwork!!). At this point in the day Celestine also let me have a go on the camera and i took some shots of the game and realised how much i love the art of photography..i then got too much into it and Celestine ended up having to take her camera back so i had to revert back to my rubbish tablet quality :(.
Sat outside the tennis courts was definitely the place to be. Some children were really very talented at Tennis which amazed me because i dont even think i could throw a ball when i was 9 let alone hit it with a racket, rally it between someone else and score some winning shots…I also found that watching the sport was actually very theraputic.
Another job of mine today is to provide a write up/blog post for the day which i am currently thoroughly enjoying doing, sitting in the sun, writing about the day.
After lunch I got to have a run out with the huge JVC camera which was so much fun, especially because when i had the huge camera on my shoulder and was walking around, so many children were running up to the camera shouting ‘are we going to be on TV?!’. This was brilliant because it meant that we got so much coverage of excited children and also got to spread the word about the coverage of the day being available online.
The last point of call with the day was the award ceremonies. Even though it’s just about taking part it was lovely to see the excited faces of all the children/schools who had worked hard and won at their sports. Turkish Airlines were handing out free airplane models to winners and medals to runners up, this was fantastic and really motivated the school children to keep up their sport. Mel Clarke was also signing autographs which everyone was so excited about! It had spread awareness about the Paralympics and we had all met a celebrity. This was lovely to catch on film. After this we packed away our things and headed back to the car after a long, but brilliant, day of sport.
Thank you Birmingham Schools for having us!
By Lauren Curno