Hang with Young Athletes Passionate for their Sport
Imagine the excitement and passion of 15,000 AAU Junior Olympic Games’ athletes competing in Hampton Roads this July 29 through August 8th. They have spent months and years training for this day, and you can be a part of it! Imagine how their passion for winning can influence you and your corporate team.
Did you know that the events include well known sports such as track and field and swimming but also sports you may not have ever watched in a competition such as Taekwondo, Baton Twirling or Sport Stacking. Your employees might learn a thing or two about perseverance and timing by watching Hampton Roads’ athletes Matthew Hill and Nicolas Valerio.
Nicolas, a Newport News resident, started Sport Stacking when he was in Kindergarten. He learned about this sport from a friend who joined the school club so his mom signed up his older brother and asked the head of the club if Nicholas could also join even though it was only offered to first-fifth graders. Luckily, they said yes. Today he is on the USA Team for Sport Stacking.
“I don't just like sport stacking...I love sport stacking,” explains Nicholas. “I love it because it's a sport for all ages. Even my parents and younger siblings do sport stacking and my grandparents are trying, too whenever they get the chance. So, it is a great bonding time for my family. It's really fun and a good exercise to keep not just our bodies healthy, but it even sharpens our brains and makes us smarter. Sport stacking helps me build self-confidence while having fun because our goal is to try to set our personal best and not to beat someone else. This is how we keep a very positive environment in sport stacking. Last but not the least, I love it because it is also an international sport, so we get to travel around the world not just to compete but also to meet and make new friends from other countries.”
Why not let a bit of that enthusiasm rub off on you and your team? And when it comes to goal setting and focus, these athletes totally get it! You might meet a top stacker from Virginia Beach, Matthew Hill, who competed in his first World Sport Stacking Championship in 2012 where he had the opportunity to meet stackers from Germany, Australia, and Great Britain.
“I have never won a gold medal at any AAU Junior Olympic Games event, so my goal is to win at least one gold medal in any of the eight events offered in the AAU Junior Olympic Games,” said Matthew. “You only have three attempts to try to get your best time, said Matthew. “Whenever I am nervous, I take a step back from the competition table, take a few deep, cleansing breaths, just focus on me and not anything else, think positive, and do the very best I can.”
Good reminders for all of us. The Hampton Roads Sports Commission is looking for a few good people (2,000 volunteers) to step up to the start and assist with registration, set up/tear down, hospitality/catering and to be general volunteers at each sport. Employees of the Chamber’s member companies are the best ambassadors for showcasing our region to the 35,000 visitors that come to town. We want our visitors to feel welcome and celebrated while they are here. We want them to think about our area as a future place to live, work or go to college.
To volunteer your team, please call Mollie Robertson at 757-664-2573 or email at MRobertson@hrccva.com. If you do not have a team, but would like to volunteer, simply go to www.HamptonRoadsSports.org and click AAU banner on the homepage and then click the “Volunteer Info” on the left hand side of the page.
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