BCOMS mentees, Mayowa Quadri and Teshani Nanayakkara attended the inaugural Beyond Sport conference on Tuesday, 25th June at Tottenham Hotspur’s new stadium.
Mayowa surmised the day’s events with a blog of his experiences.
Please see this blog below:
‘Sports is not the answer, it is the vehicle’.
A phrase I heard throughout the Beyond Sports conference. Simple and effective yet impactful and most importantly, true. I relate to the statement. A young kid from South London, I started playing football because my mother deemed me to be ‘too energetic’. The result, a young boy who learnt about teamwork, leadership, emotions and competition. I wasn’t to know that sport would help me with my life, but it did. So, it is fitting that Beyond Sport recognise that sport can be an instrument to influence change in society.
The day started with a strong rally from someone I can relate to and I now greatly admire, Immy Kaur. A young person from an ethnic minority background speaking to an esteemed crowd and telling them where we are, where we were heading and what we could do. This alone showcased what Beyond Sport was about. Understanding there is opportunity to come together and tackle social issues.
As I indulged in conversation with other participants, the message was reiterated loud and clear. Everyone in the room had a different background but all knew they could assist in creating a change. Everyone expected that we could work together to bring change, and everyone knew that somehow, someway, sport could play a part in this.
The morning consisted of hearing case studies on how sports has been a vehicle of change, but the afternoon was centred around taking action. Issues were presented during roundtables and discussed. Approaches were highlighted and explored. In this moment, I realised the pure nature of what the conference was delivering on. The people sat beside me were my ‘team’ we had an issue to solve, we worked together, deliberated, had contrasting views however still came together to bring about a result. Ironically this what we said sports enables people to do and could aid society. Whether it is to aid with creating change in the youth justice system or tackle immigration and migration cohesion, the principles of sports showcased can be used as tools to tackle social issues.
Having been inspired, had my voice heard, contributed to change, I left the venue proud. That people wanted to change society, that people realised there are many root causes to issues that must be tackled, that people genuinely cared. Social issues affect us all in some shape or form. Just like the sports saying goes, we must all ‘play our part’ and maybe one day, we could look back and say sports was a ‘vehicle’ for the change we want to see in the world.
It was also great to hear from David Grevemberg, Rebecca Marmot, Jasmin Akter and Molly Thompson-Smith who challenged us to think about issues as varied as how to implement green initiatives in to the business of sport and how to overcome adversity both in your personal and sporting life. It was an extremely intriguing day which in many ways brought up just as many questions as answers.