Worthing College Sports Academy Awards Night

Young people in general get a pretty hard time from their elders, me included. Many are chastised for being lazy and unmotivated, but if you ever need to be inspired by young people and what they can achieve through hard work, learning, passion and dedication, pop along to watch any of the Worthing College Sports Academy teams. I was honoured to present two awards on behalf of Fresh Egg at Worthing College’s End of Season Sports Awards last month, and in doing so, left with a firm view that our sporting future is very bright. I'd go as far as saying, their achievements and hard work were inspiring.

Scores of students, parents and coaches alike turned up for the annual event, now in its “sixth or seventh year” according to the Principal, and while his memory of how many events have been held might be sketchy, his selection of coaches and students has been sublime.  It wasn’t just the effort and obvious dedication from the students, but the passion and tremendous hard work from the staff, which was obviously valued so highly, and according to many of their results this season, has certainly paid off.

I’d seen the odd news story in the Worthing Herald in the past about the teams doing well, but nothing prepared me for the scale of their achievements or the level at which they were playing.  Who knew we had multiple England internationals playing sports like football, rugby, netball and basketball right here in Worthing?  I certainly didn’t, and when you consider that one of the award winners on the night couldn’t be there to collect her award because she was “away in Estonia playing football for the England national team” you realise what an incredible achievement the college has obtained.

The teams, such as the men’s football team and the netball team, are both playing at the highest level possible in college leagues in the entire country.  Indeed, the women’s football team plays in the same division as the Arsenal and Chelsea ladies youth teams (which haven’t been beaten in any competition for almost five years in the case of Arsenal!).  However, the Worthing College team took Arsenal to extra time and a 3-3 draw in the National Cup competition before going out on penalties.  Arsenal went on to win the entire competition with ease, showing just how good Worthing was this season.  The men wrapped up their national title beating teams from Staines and Wimbledon along the way, while the rugby and basketball teams also played at incredibly high levels on the national stage.

Alongside all of this, I was very proud to hand out an award for Fundraiser of the Year which went to Jack Roberts from the rugby team who was yet another fantastic example of dedication to the cause at Worthing College.

If this wasn’t inspiring enough, the coaches and staff have achieved this with their students on a reduced budget, limited resources and poor facilities.  Imagine what they could achieve with the right facilities, support and budget?  Rather than see young people continuing to get a bad name for all the wrong reasons, I for one would love to see the local press attend these awards nights and watch our local sports stars of the future to inspire future generations and muster even greater community support for these teams.  Perhaps then, young people might just get the credit they deserve.

As a local resident, the overwhelming feeling I had on leaving the awards night was pride.  I stress, I have children but they don’t attend Worthing College, but if they are ever good enough or want to play sports professionally in the future, there is only one place I’ll be sending them.

I'd like to say a particular thank you to Paul Cox for arranging us to come along and to Tina Price who was a constant inspiration all evening. Worthing College students and staff, you are the pride of south coast sports and it was an honour and a pleasure to be asked to present two awards for you.  Enjoy your success and good luck in the future from everyone at Fresh Egg.