Nothing to do.
Crack head central.
Complete s**t hole.
Opportunity, character, home
On the change.
Unaware of potential.
The six statements above came in reply to a request I put out on Facebook to “describe Stoke-on-Trent in 3 words”.
I got other answers, but the above I chose because they’re the most striking and definitive.
The first 3 came from people not regularly actively involved in sport.
The latter 3 came from people who regularly take part in sport.
The 6 statements, and many of the others, reaffirm my claim that being an active participant in sport positively affects other aspects of your lifestyle, and your outlook on life, whilst none-participation is equally detrimental to your attitude and outlook on life.
Now, I’ve just returned home from the launch event naming Stoke on Trent, our great city, as the ‘European City of Sport’.
This is literally, a once per generation event, where our city has been recognised and regarded as the city with the most sporting potential of all other cities across Europe.
This award, this recognition; because that’s what it is, puts our city on a par with past winners of the award such as Madrid, Dublin, Rotterdam, Copenhagen, Milan and Marseille.
It’s not a sympathy vote; it’s not a bid to help us. It’s 100% recognition of our city and our people and the potential that is held within each of us proud Stokies.
People from all around the world recognise that you and I are capable of whatever we want to be capable of. They recognise that our children, the future of our city, have massive massive potential, and they want to back us. So now it’s time to step up.
We need to unite together and become a city full of doers. We need to make 2016 THE year for sport in our city.
It’s our time to showcase ourselves to the rest of the world. It’s our chance to prove to the world that there IS plenty to do in our home town. We need to show the world, that we’re not crack heads and that we’re capable and willing of looking after the people in our city that need help.
We need every single person in Stoke on Trent to play their part in showing that we live in a beautiful, bustling, lively city, and not a complete shit hole.
To make 2016 work properly, we need everybody to be inspired to be active in sports, any sports. Regularly. We need to remove stigmas, banish labels.
We need to inspire. Motivate. Generate.
We need players, jumpers, runners, players, swimmers, climbers, riders, throwers, cheerers, clappers, helpers, supporters.
Most of all we need tryers.
We need people, every person, to go out and try something new. To take a friend. To stand in the rain whilst their children try a new sport. We need you, to be brave, to make a change, to have a go, to be proud, to enjoy.
We need the children of our city to see their parents make being active a part of normal life. We need to develop a drive and determination in our children; our future to get out and try. To push themselves, to approach new sports and activities.
None of this will come without conscious effort by you and me. We need to show Stoke on Trent that there is nothing wrong with being new to something. We need to become facilitators. We need to go out of our way.
Changing our attitude to helping people change will change lives. It will create lives. It will change attitudes.
It will create a city to be prouder of. It will create a city to aspire to.
Do it now. Plan, inspire, develop, play, cheer, encourage, motivate.
My three words to describe our home; Concentrated undiscovered potential.