COMMUNITY WORK: Engaging youth through sport
MARCH 17 is the time of year every Irish looks forward to. It is a day filled with outrageous orange, glaring green and winter white. It is Saint Patrick‘s Day, also known as Saint Paddy‘s Day. Saint Patrick is believed to have driven all the snakes out from Ireland.
It is a day normally celebrated with a parade through the streets but the weather this year was dreadful. It rained heavily the night before. There were groans and moans about how Saint Patrick‘s Day would turn out.
To my amazement, the following morning saw one of the best sunny days in Ireland, and summer has not even arrived yet! The bright sun called for sunglasses, something unusual at this time of the year. Cheers were heard from around the counties as many began to prepare for their majestic parades.
I went to Limerick city where the parade lasted two hours. Groups of uniformed bodies marched on the streets along with brass bands blasting out well-known tunes. Grandparents, adults, children, babies and even pets were all part and parcel of the mass event. Large floats with multiple mascots were accompanied by loud music advertising different businesses. There was even a man wearing a white wedding dress which drew much attention. The best part was the little treat bags thrown to the crowd. Some people even brought large bags to keep the small goody bags.
When the parade came to a close, I began to wander around the city. I caught sight of an event at the skate park at Mount Kennett, Limerick called Skateparade, where a lot of people with skateboards of all colours and designs were gathered. There was even a band and a loud sound system to attract onlookers such as myself.
Daredevils did one trick after another. They skated down a variety of ramps and attempted unbelievable stunts on the rails.
Skateparade is run by SportQuest Ireland, which was started by a group of people from the local churches. The organisation worked together with SG3 Skateboards to make this event a great success.
Skateparade is a free competition open to all. This year, there were raffles and mini contests, and prizes worth more than RM20,000 in the form of skateboards and apparel.
It was amazing to see so many youth from different backgrounds and cultures coming together for the sport they love. SportQuest Ireland director Elton Good says: “Our partnership with SG3 Skateboards has been fruitful. Skateparade has been held since 2005 and it is a blessing to the skateboarding and urban community.“
All-Ireland Skate champion Cian Eades says: “Our skate shop closed down recently, so it is wonderful that the younger children received skateboards as prizes. All in all, it was a great day; good turnout, a lot of smiles and hopefully it will happen again next year!“
It was good to know that there is a bigger story behind the picture. It is inspirational how people can make a difference in their community. It proves that everyone can be a force for change.
The writer is studying at a high school in Ireland. She loves to try all things but is a Malaysian at heart.