Let’s Talk Community
Why is Community so important when it comes to sport? It's no secret that the power of connection and support can truly transform lives both on and off the field. We deep dive into the subject to uncover the profound impact of community in the world of sport
By Alison Root
What does community mean to you? Whether you’ve adventured into the world of Glorious or hit that follow button on our Instagram, Congratulations! You’re already an essential part of our incredible community. Guess what?! Community isn’t confined to our little corner of the Universe—it’s everywhere!
In the realm of sport, Community takes on a life of its own. It transcends individual pursuits and becomes the glue that forges connections among like-minded individuals. It’s about finding a tribe or a sisterhood that supports and uplifts each other through the highs and lows of the journey. Whether you’re part of a hockey team, a wild swimming club, or simply a gathering of friends to watch rugby, the power of community is undeniable.
I am a member of a few communities. The Glorious one (of course!), but also I’m part of the tennis community. I have played at my club for 20 years now, and it has been the backdrop for some of my most memorable life events. From broken ankles to friends’ pregnancy announcements, the club has been there through it all. I’m also part of a netball team, where besides playing (awful!) netball, I have forged friendships and bonds that are nurtured—mainly over a few glasses of wine in the pub post-game! I have a sisterhood that supports and encourages me, and that I feel I can depend on, on and off the court. I’m also an avid Tottenham Hotspur supporter, and through having my season tickets, I’ve travelled, met great friends, found solace in commiseration following recent poor performances and much pain!
Fittingly, this week, Tottenham’s arch rivals Arsenal (sorry!) have released a brilliant art piece titled ‘Found a Place Where We Belong.’ The piece – meticulously illustrated over 20 weeks by critically acclaimed artist Reuben Dangoor, will sit alongside seven pieces of art that were launched in January and now feature proudly on the outside of the stadium. Inspired by Dennis Bergkamp’s quote, “When you start supporting a football club, you don’t support it because of the trophies, or a player, or history; you support it because you found yourself somewhere there – found a place where you belong.” The artwork features more than 700 supporters representing their global supporter base, it was unveiled as a ‘thank you’ for their incredible support. Monique Rocastle, a lifelong Arsenal supporter and former employee, is one of the people depicted in the artwork. Monique emphasises the transformative impact of being part of the Arsenal community, saying, “I’ve made friends for life through Arsenal and met my partner too. It’s really nice to think I’ll be on the stadium when I come to matches. It was a special and proud moment when I found out I was featuring.” Monique’s experience highlights how being part of a community can provide not only fun and friendships but also transformative power, as it has provided her with a job and even a partner!
But Community stretches far beyond the realm of football. This week we head to America, where we meet Jessa Williams, the founder of Intrsxtn Surf. Jessa is breaking waves and boundaries, creating a surfing community that symbolises empowerment, unity, and a celebration of diversity. Her organisation challenges the stereotypical surfer image, inspiring individuals who may have felt discouraged from pursuing surfing.
We also meet Tilly GW and Ashley Stewart, who embarked on an epic 550km relay run with their team We Are Protagonists. Beginning in Santa Monica, their journey through the demanding terrain of the Death Valley desert, culminating in the Las Vegas finish line, showcases the profound impact of sisterhood in overcoming mental and physical challenges.
In the world of boxing, we sit down with Marnie Swindells, the winner of The Apprentice, who is building her new empire with her boxing gym, BRONX. Marnie’s focus goes beyond physicality. She aims to create real change through community and storytelling. Her gym offers an alternate narrative and an opportunity for boxing to make a difference beyond the sport itself.
When it comes to youth, we discover two remarkable organisations making a difference. Football Beyond Borders empowers football enthusiasts to excel academically and beyond, using dynamic sessions and impactful mentoring to rewrite futures and reshape communities. Riding a Dream Academy, co-founded by Naomi Lawson, aims to make the equestrian world more accessible and inclusive by involving more young people in horse racing.
These stories serve as vivid illustrations of the transformative power of Community. They highlight the significance of coming together, supporting one another, and creating spaces where everyone feels welcome and valued.
Through Community, we can inspire more women to actively participate in and witness the beauty of sport. So, take 10 minutes and dive into this week’s stories!
Enjoy and connect!
Team Glorious x