In his novel ‘A tale of Two cities’, the Victorian writer, Charles Dickens eloquently expressed challenging times in the opening paragraph of his masterpiece, ‘It was the best of times, it was the worst of times’. A mass shooting in the Ocean City coming on the back of an 18 month Covid crisis can certainly be considered the worst of times.
Conversely, the Plymouth Community coming together as one in sympathy, solidarity and support of all those personally affected by last week’s events, evidences the best of our people and city. All at Plymouth Albion join as one to express our sorrow and sympathy with the families and friends impacted by the tragedy.
The mood of the city was not helped by the catastrophic events unfolding in Afghanistan. It reminds me of the old adage: ‘In the Lottery of Life, to be born in England means you have already won a Major Prize’. Life goes on and in these challenging times sport can serve as a tonic and distraction from the depressing calamities flooding our news channels.
Despite the immense challenge facing those staging the Olympic Games, Tokyo fronted up, kicked on and delivered a triumphant event. Summoning the youth of the world to come together and unite as one in friendly sporting competition is a wonderful thing.
Plymouth’s own Olympians carried the Devon flag on the international stage with Tom Daley heading the list winning his first Gold medal in synchronised diving augmented by a bronze in the individual 10m board. The Tokyo Olympics were a triumph of optimism and hope over challenge and adversity. It epitomised the beauty and excellence of elite level sporting endeavour.
As you read this column there will be a further demonstration of that same sporting magic as the Paralympics are now in full flow. I wrote recently of my uplifting experience when I spent a day with the Devon Hawks Wheelchair Rugby Club. Not only have these guys overcome disability or devastating injury, but they have gone on to achieve sporting excellence in their own right. I take my hat off to them one and all – RESPECT!
In a similar vein I am delighted to report that one of the team, Luke Collier has joined our backroom team at Plymouth Albion. Luke came to the club looking for help gaining financial support in his bid to make the top tier of Paralympic sport and MD Max Venables was so impressed, he created a role for Luke to join our team!
Council Leader Nick Kelly spoke for us all when he said, “Plymouth has nurtured a very impressive array of sporting talent and as a city we can be very proud of them all. It is a huge achievement to represent your country in the Olympics and it requires years of dedication and hard work”. As one who earned his living as a professional sportsman for 13 years. I concur with Councillor Kelly’s wise words. It certainly is a tough road to tread demanding dedication, total commitment, sustained focus and shed loads of hard work.
There is no shortage of commitment and effort at the Brickfields at this time. Plymouth Albion’s rugby squad are currently going through their paces in a tough pre-season programme of conditioning, training and warm-up games.
Our lads go head to head in National League Division One action against the mighty Rosslyn Park on Saturday 4thSeptember. Director of Rugby, Damian Welch assures us the team will be fit and ready to hit the road running. We hope and plan for Albion to be in the mix at the top of the table challenging for promotion this term.
Two wins from two friendlies played earlier this month suggest Albion are shaping up well. They will be tested again on Saturday 21stAugust when the young tyros from Exeter University visit the Brickfield for Albion’s final warm-up game.
With intimate ties to Exeter Chiefs, the University are stacked with outstanding young talent who will pose a tough challenge for Damien Welch’s side. A fast open, entertaining and competitive game is in prospect. Tickets are available online with admission on the gate also available. Just £5 secures admission with unrestricted seating available for all.
We tend to look up to sporting legends and people who not only win but give us a larger-than-life role model. Plymouth Albion play in Division One of the National League. It is a highly competitive semi-professional elite level league. A new mood of optimism and expectation is buzzing around Brickfields. There is no need to travel far to see sporting legends as Plymouths Albion players aim to write their names in the history books as the spirit of our Heritage Club is serving as a great stimulus and motivator.
Under the inspirational management of our backroom management team, Albion are on the way back to add still more glory to an illustrious history. Our players are bristling with talent and pulling at the bit to carry Plymouth colours with pride on the national stage. Our players are primed and ready to go as we launch on a new journey for our ‘Heritage Club’. It is time to climb! Join us and share the experience, the thrills and excitement of the ride. The future is bright, the future is Plymouth Albion.
Albion as One… ! It does not get better than that.