Preseason 2021 Recap
Back in June 2021, I wrote a paper for the University Essex Sports Board highlighting the importance of a September Pre-Season. The Pre-season aims were to offer all Essex Blades Clubs the opportunity to prepare members in terms of fitness, team cohesion, recruitment, wellbeing and for contact sports the safety element. The Pre-Season proposed for 13th September – 24th September 2021 will allow additional training sessions, workshops, general fitness, and social opportunities for members to be involved in. The paper asked the board for support in facilities, space and for the approval of £15,000 from the 2020/2021 Essex Sports Board budget to be rolled over to cover the costs of the pre-season training camp. The board not only agreed to the £15,000 to be rolled over but also for the pre-season budget to be extended to £30,000 to cover the costs but also to help investment into our clubs for new equipment and kit.
All Essex Blades Clubs were invited back for 3 weeks of additional training starting 13th September until the start of the autumn term. We also added multiple other events to celebrate the Blades being back and with the vision to rebuild the Essex Blades community which was lost during the pandemic. The below is a bit about each event that was added to the Essex Blades Pre-Season:
President/Captain/Social Sec Networking Lunch
This event invited all Essex Blades Club Presidents, Vice Presidents and Social Secretary's to meet each other and network as well as discuss any concerns and aspects they are looking forward to.
SU COLOUR DASH – Monday 27th September
This was a fantastic event with a couple of hundred Blades members attending doing a 5km run around the grass pitches through powdered paint. The event was free for all Blades members and included a Blades colour dash t-shirt, sunglasses & coloured paint to use at the event. The weather couldn't have been better for the event and great seeing our clubs back.
BLADES PHOTO SHOOT – Wednesday 29th September
Working off of feedback from club members when it comes to our Blades promotional material, many of our photos are outdated with old and graduated students which we would have used for our social channels. We had a great turn out of clubs attending taking committee, team or full club photos.
MINI FED – Wednesday 29th September
Deep down we all knew everyone has missed FED. So what better way to celebrate the end of the Pre-season and the stat of the upcoming Blades season than with a FED. This event was free for all Blades members as a thank you and a way to celebrate the upcoming season. The event was sold out and a great opportunity for Essex Blades clubs to socialise, celebrate together but also allowed the brand new sub zero staff to work a night together and get familiar ahead of freshers for a fortnight.
BIG BLADES QUIZ – Friday 1st October
To end the pre-season campaign we held an Essex Blades Quiz SU Bar with free entry for all Blades Members as a team-building activity with prizes up to £100 for first, £50 for second and a round of drinks for third.
BLADES COMMUNITY PAINT PROJECT – Tuesday 5th / Wednesday 6th October
A big part of the Essex Blades is the community while also volunteering for the wider community. If anyone had seen the STP recently the wood panelling really needed a lick of paint. In collaboration with VTeam the Blades got involved in a paint project to re-paint the wood Red & Black in the Blades colours. A big project the Blades Exec wants to push this year is around changing the stigma of “University Sport members/ Essex Blades on campus”.