In forming the Observatory for Sport in Scotland (OSS) its founders wanted to create a charity that is all about the F word – Friendship.
Sport can breed friendship. From playgrounds to parks, through school into work, across Scotland’s communities and beyond. As we intersect this planet with balls, bats and the power of our limbs, we form friendships. Whether we are enthusiastic amateurs or elite competitors, sport gives us the license to form unique relationships with others. Moving together and apart, grunting more than speaking we are licensed to form a physical intensity and even intimacy with those on our team or competing alongside us which is rarely experienced in everyday life. We have the chance to make and grow friendships and to understand ourselves and others in a new and often profoundly inspiring way. As Liz Lochhead said as she wished our commonwealth competitors:
“May fierce friendship forever flourish
Between each competing nation and its host”.
At OSS we hail sport and its ability and potential to form, shape and strengthen friendships on and off pitches across our schools, communities, board rooms and through our international relationships – particularly with Europe. Never has this felt more needed than now.
Sport needs to play a crucial role in creating the fit, fun and flourishing Scotland that is needed today – and we believe that it can. OSS is led by a board of volunteers with more than a century of experience at the centre of Scottish sporting life.
Amongst us we have champion swimmers and runners, teachers, business and political leaders and able sports amateurs from across Europe who have already led programmes of national transformation through sport. We are united by one simple passion translated into our vision and mission. Sport for People.
Scotland really does need to pull up its sporting socks. Not simply to achieve national recognition – although of course this is always an ambition – but to nourish sport for the role it can play in the lives of it’s citizens – for their mental, physical and social good.
Sport is something many love and more could. When well taught, nurtured and shared it can be a baton passed across a life time and through generations. It can combat loneliness, mental and physical illness and enrich our experience of life. It is the relationships formed through sport that will keep us coming back and bring us together in healthy combat, playing out the intense struggle that life can be.
OSS aims to bring together the best thinking from schools to universities, community sport and professional clubs, leisure trusts and authorities, government and governing bodies and businesses. We want to bring together and share what is working and what can be worked harder for the greater good. But first and foremost this is about people. The volunteers that make the sporting world go round. Their motivations and how that inspires others.
For OSS’s first year we will be generating and sharing existing evidence through forums, events and communications.
We will be launching forums with business, universities and communities and arranging consultations and discussions that bring these stakeholder groups and others together. We want to map the state of sport in Scotland and better understand and share the barriers and best practices that can make Scotland fit, fun and flourishing through sport for all. We are led by our voluntary advisors and board and keen to hear from anyone wanting to engage with us.
If you’d like to tell us about your experience and hear more about our work and join us in growing our understanding, evidence base and learning about sport for all in Scotland please get in touch with me: firstname.lastname@example.org
Marie McQuade is Executive Director of OSS.