While perusing Facebook this weekend, I noticed my news feed was inundated with Sport Relief posts. Sport Relief is the athletic side of Comic Relief, a charity which supports extremely disadvantaged communities in the UK and in the world’s most impoverished countries. 2012 has been designated the UK’s Biggest Year of Sport what with that little competition they’re hosting this summer. What’s it called again, the London Olympics? So Sport Relief decided to get everyone involved. Since the New Year (and even a bit before) celebrities and athletes have been participating in challenges to get the word out about Sport Relief. From Freddie Flintoff’s 12 Guinness World Records broken in 12 hours to Helen Skelton’s 500 mile trek to the South Pole, to Eddie the Eagle doing his best Austin Powers’ impersonation on Let’s Dance for Sport Relief, the country got psyched up to do their part.
Last weekend, communities up and down the country held Sainbury’s Sport Relief Mile runs. From toddlers to pensioners and from people in animal costumes to dogs wearing people clothes, more than one million participants raised over 50 million pounds for the charity. Click the link below to see what Hull’s event looked like.
I marvel at what Sport Relief does, not just for the great programs and aid they provide, but for how they unite a country in a common goal, if only for a weekend. Sure, in America we organize an infinite number of worthy fundraising events like the Relay for Life, the Komen 3-Day Walk for Breast Cancer and the March of Dimes March for Babies to name only a few. Maybe we’re too big to logistically pull together a similarly coordinated event like Sport Relief, but wouldn’t it be great for communities to come together for the sake of fun and philanthropy? Don’t say it, I know I’ve been drawn in by the optimistic ideals of Richard Curtis (co-founder of Comic Relief and very excellent writer of funny yet sentimental shows such as Mr. Bean, The Vicar of Dibley, and the ultimate rom-com, Love Actually), but I’m not ashamed to admit I’m highly susceptible to that kind of thinking.
If you are interested in learning more about Sport Relief, checking out the videos and photos people have submitted or even making a donation, all the information can be found on their website: http://www.sportrelief.com/ I gave last fall when David Walliams swam the length of the Thames and the site made it quite simple to donate.