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The parallels between sport and the lives we all lead

03 March 2021

Bringing The America’s Cup, 1851 Trust & All Of Us Together

The parallels between sport and the lives we all lead, highlight how role models are seen to lead and inspire. What connects us is that each and every one of us faces adversity, be it at home, in school, at work or even within elite sport.  

Sport has always influenced others and when brought into education it can invigorate and lead the way from character development to curriculum learning and future career aspirations. The start to 2021 has seen parallels on both sides of the world with INEOS TEAM UK’s efforts to bring home the America’s Cup and the 1851 Trust finding the determination to continue to inspire young people, in a moment in time that has affected everyone and everything. 

The team will return from New Zealand with their heads held high as their quest to win the America’s Cup this year comes to and end. Spirit, commitment and determination has been the backbone of the team throughout their whole campaign. In the words of 1851 Trust Patron and INEOS TEAM UK skipper Sir Ben Ainslie, “We made a commitment to win the America’s Cup, to get it back to Britain and we’re going to do that. As far as I’m concerned, until we do that, then the job isn’t over and we’ve got to keep on going.”  Similarly, back in the UK with the reopening of schools from the 8th of March, we must keep on going, as the country starts to bring people and communities together again.  

CEO of the 1851 Trust, Ben Cartledge looks at the wider responsibilities, of the Trust. Ben says, “When Ben (Ainslie) and the team arrived on the other side of the world the goal has always been to win the America’s Cup. Facing adversity, particularly during the early rounds and the Christmas regattas meant that being reliant on each other is what stages a comeback. Similar to the work back home from the Trust, challenge and resilience is the one thing that defines what we have all faced. Adaptability and personal strength are attributes that every single household in the UK has come to recognise. For every pupil that has had to adjust to life away from school and teachers – finding new skillsets as online video presenters – every individual has persevered to stage their own victory.”  

 A Chance To Look Back 

As the country entered its third lockdown during December, the transition to online delivery was smoother for schools and the Trust team was ready to adapt its Spring Term plans. Ben comments, “The pandemic had resulted in the ability for 1851 Trust to make our learning resources accessible at home. A huge success has been working in partnership with schools. For instance, assemblies still have a role to inspire and bring young people together, for example around themes of resilience, communication and critical thinking, but we created these as workshops to be inclusive at home. What we have done is provide greater support to a network of schools.”
 The transition to digital learning for many schools has understandably been challenging and teachers have had to respond to the changing environment, Ben recognises the importance of working alongside the teachers and not let anyone down, “When you have a digital approach to supporting teachers, it is not there to add complexity but to make things easier for them and find ways to reassure and inspire pupils so they can benefit from having two experts in their virtual classroom – their teacher and STEM Crew.”  The commitment to closing the attainment gap can be read here from a previous article and the Trust continues to adapt its approach to stay aligned with the developing approach to the “recovery” curriculum within the education system.   The team at the 1851 Trust are huge believers in learning by doing and all resources have this as a focus. Whilst in lockdown, what can be achieved has to be attainable at home. There will always be an emphasis on people doing, not just listening.” 

 Being A Trusted (Re)source  

 Initiatives that were introduced in 2020 such as the ZERO Days: Back to school programme and the INEOS 1:59 Challenge inspired resources have helped to respond to a change of behaviour and address back to school life. 
Ben says, “The delivery of learning is also there to inform. For instance, ZERO Days was launched in September 2020. Schools were sharing content with parents with a message to reduce the spread of Covid by encouraging positive behaviour change. By introducing well-known faces such as Lewis Hamilton naturally helped with familiarity. What is delivered has to remain relevant, not just to pupils, but to wider communities.”  Having access to role models, such as marathon runner Eliud Kipchoge who was the inspiration for 1:59 Challenge has helped capture the imagination of pupils and inspire a vision for future careers and to encourage their ambitions when life returns to normal.  In the meantime, these initiatives will support and ignite a passion for learning in young people, as schools re-open in March. 

 What Are The Immediate Challenges?  

Whilst it is natural to have an expectancy for life to return to normal, there is an acknowledgment that the delivery from the 1851 Trust has to recognise the obstacles that schools will need to overcome to achieve this.  Ben explains, “We will all step back into a world with a sense of trepidation. For instance, many pupils have missed continuity of school learning, but also the school community and environment over two academic years, since last March. The ability to build friendships and learn together or face to face has been stripped away from them. The effect on mental health and wellbeing will be apparent. Even the structure to a “normal” school day has been disrupted on a huge scale. There are adjustment challenges and we, as an organisation, have to acknowledge this.” 

“I look at the role of 1851 Trust into 2021 and beyond as a way to recognise the resilience of young people and to get optimism and hope back on track. Character development is just as important as the focus for accessible STEM subjects. Sporting contexts, such as the America’s Cup, offer a fantastic platform to build all these skills.” 

Looking Forwards 

As schools reopen, the emphasis is on finding stability. Alongside prominent sporting events such as the America’s Cup, it highlights sport and education working side by side.  Ben states, “The America’s Cup represents the excitement, risk and reward of sailing. It also shows that participation can take lots of forms when you have an interest and encouragement from the best and most well-known people in sport. The conversations we are currently having with other sports governing bodies and teams have the alignment that sport is accessible to all, no one should ever feel excluded because there are so many ways to get involved.”  The lessons 1851 Trust has taken from the pandemic is the importance of creativity and being adaptable as a team. This has helped them to deliver aspirational, sports-inspired resources to support and invigorate young people whilst for many our worlds have been locked away.” 

Lets Bring To An End 

 To be the best in our chosen fields, from sport to education, we all have to embrace the pressures presented and be aware of the volatility in the world.  In the words of basketball star Michael Jordan, “I’ve missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. Twenty-six times I’ve been trusted to take the game-winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.” We all have to face adversities to refine, reshape and come out stronger. As INEOS TEAM UK returns home from the America’s Cup and for every person who has come to terms with their own challenges during the pandemic, resilience has been a trait for all. The ability to survive and thrive in the face of change has been presented on both sides of the world. 

 As the doors open again on a different world for pupils, teachers and families there has never been a more important time to re-energise, inspire and recognise the opportunities and tools young people need to thrive in today’s world. 

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