The Festival, started by Brad Bing of youth sports development agency Sporting Chance in 1990, is an annual highlight for thousands of children aged between nine and fifteen years who are bussed in from their communities to the beach to pit their cricketing skills against one another.
Addington Beach, Durban – 24 & 25 November
Nahoon Beach, East London – 27 & 28 November
Kings Beach, Port Elizabeth – 1 December
Robberg Beach, Plettenberg Bay – 2 December
San Parks Beach, Wilderness – 3 December\
Santos Beach, Mossel Bay – 4 December
Grotto Beach, Hermanus – 5 December
Main Beach, Strand – 8 December
Long Beach, Kommetjie – 9 December
Sunrise Beach, Muizenberg – 10, 11 & 12 December
This year the ‘Find a Calypso Fast Bowler’ drive aims to uncover new bowling talent – a Makhaya Ntini or Dale Steyn – amongst the 8,000 participants. Over the years the festival has been recognised as a vehicle for identifying young sporting talent, for fostering a love of cricket and sport in general and as an opportunity to provide a large number of children with a fun filled holiday activity.
Bing, who is passionate about the positive benefits that sport can bring to children’s lives, says the Pick n Pay Calypso Beach Cricket Festival was borne from a desire to introduce large numbers of kids to cricket and to bring the various communities and cultures of South Africa together. Traditionally played in the cricket-crazy West Indies, Calypso Cricket is a fun adaptation of the conventional game, where two teams of ten players engage in play on a sand pitch.
Aside from a trip to the beach for many children who would otherwise not have this kind of opportunity, the Festival highlights Bing’s determination to encourage sport as a fixture in children’s lives. “All boys and girls should ideally be exposed to sport and a healthy lifestyle,” says Bing. “Research has shown you develop your habits by the age of 12. If you’re not playing sport or leading an active and healthy lifestyle by then, the chances are that sport and physical activity will not feature in your adult lifestyle”.
As the Calypso Beach Cricket Festival has gained momentum over the years, it has received recognition from a significant number of corporate and sports stakeholders including Cricket South Africa, provincial cricket administration bodies and a number of cricket celebrities. Inherent to the success of this large scale sports outreach programme is the support of Pick n Pay, a company well known for its encouragement of community upliftment through positive and pro active measures. Thanks to the generous sponsorship of the supermarket giant, thousands of children are given an opportunity to be just that – children, enjoying a carefree, fun-filled festival on the beach.
“It is important to provide our country’s youth with opportunities that will expose them to life skills and the value of playing sport,” said Jonathan Ackerman of Pick n Pay. “This will hopefully open up new possibilities and have a positive impact on the quality of their lives. We’ve supported Calypso cricket for many years and are committed to seeing it grow from strength to strength.”
Kim Webster CSR Manager for Virgin Active added: “We are excited about the opportunities that this festival provides for children. They have fun, make friends and more importantly, gain access to great coaching skills to develop them as cricketers. Virgin Active is proud to be associated with a development initiative which creates a sustainable impact on the lives of our nation’s children.”
The Pick n Pay Calypso Beach Cricket Festival’s final match will be held on Friday 12 December at Sunrise Beach, Muizenberg – the site of the first ever Calypso Beach Cricket Festival 18 years ago.
The public is encouraged to come and support the children. For further details log onto www.sportingchance.co.za or call Natalie Le Brun at Sporting Chance on 021 683 7299