good idea'. A week or so later and I find myself going along to Rutlish School in Merton Park one pleasant summers evening - my good idea shelved for the moment as more pressing matters are at hand. The Community Events group, like all such groups, contracts and expands over time and at the moment it is in full contract mode. Too few people trying to do too much over too long has led to some members re-focussing their attention elsewhere and, as a result, we're a bit short on the ground.
Over the next two weeks it seems there are two events pencilled in - an inaugural sports evening at Rutlish School coming up that very week (alma mater of many of our supporters) and the very significant Wimbledon Village Fair the week after. We really don't want to let Rutlish down and I volunteer to help MarkD run a speed football competition using radar guns and an interesting-looking post and net ball restraining system. Having looked at all the options - and the sack of assorted nets, poles and guy-ropes - we opt to set up in the Rutlish cricket nets instead, the other side of the cricket pitch and well away from the hub of the activity. MarkD had also issued a plea for any Old Ruts on the Guestboard to come and lend a hand so we were more than happy to have Alan from Chessington turn up to help us out. Many thanks for that Alan.
After doing our best to repair the cricket nets to prevent high-powered footballs bursting through ("Kids climb in at night and jump up and down on them" ) we finally figure out how to work the radar gun, manage to erect some banners for a much-need bit of visibility and also set up the very solid 'beat Dave Beasant ' penalty shoot out game (also know as 'kick the ball through the hole'). It's a very pleasant evening really. We hand out old programmes to bemused youngster ('Yes kids, even the losers win a free prize worth £2... or £2.50 if you get a later one'), run a pretty succesful speed game with a thrilling final shoot-out, there's a beer tent and we are provided with vouchers for a free barbecue meal. The PTA are grateful, I meet some friends whose sons attend the school and they all agree that they should come down to KM to see a game (I start planning a char-a-bang to the FCUM match) and so, all in all, I reckon we can chalk this one up as being as succesful as possible in the circumstances. As an introduction to the world of Comunity Events it's quite a gentle one.
Lessons to be learnt? Quite a few really, but what I found interesting was that the speed football is almost invisible - being only a speedgun on a tripod behind some cricket nets - whereas the Dave Beasant penalty game is easily visible. When the speed gun test is spotted though, that's the one that interests most of the boys. More visibility required I think.