Imagine 300 girls ranging from ages 12-18 gathered at a community center playing their favorite team sports. In the rain. This was the scene on Monday, April 11th at the Annual Rose Sports Meet for Girls Clubs. Eight teams from various rural villages competed in cricket, basketball, volleyball and elle (a traditional Sri Lankan game similar to softball). Even intermittent rain storms couldn’t dampen the group’s enthusiasm and team spirit.
It was a colorful group at the Lawrence Keenan Community Centre, each team wearing a different uniform provided by Rose. Kalmunai was in pink, Karaitivu in green, Natpiddimunai in blue, Vepayadi/Annamali in maroon and Pandiruppu in light blue and pink. The day started with an introduction then all of the athletes shook our hands with excited hellos and good mornings. We were surprised to see many of the girls who came across as shy and soft spoken were extremely vocal and spirited on the field. This outgoing attitude demonstrating the important role sport has on confidence building for young girls. These athletes were setting an example for younger girls as many younger sisters came to watch their older sisters play.
The sports meet was not only a great showing of sportsmanship and enthusiasm; we also saw genuine athletic talent as the girls excelled in various sports. From light speed bowls to agile lay-ups to powerful serves, the coaching provided by Rose was evident in their technical skills.
In addition to uniforms and coaching, Rose provides bus transportation from each village, lunch, water, snacks, sports equipment, trophies and most importantly, a fun and empowering environment. Girls who were not involved in a game were constantly active, picking up and playing with any unused equipment. Team members cheered for their teammates from the sidelines as the cricket games became incredibly competitive. Despite the heated competitive atmosphere,the awards ceremony was full of congratulatory cheers from all teams. All in all, everyone was a winner at Rose Charities 2011 Sports Meet.