Sitting here listening to the distant roar of bikes racing around the Billown circuit for this year's Southern 100 festival, I can't help but marvel at the sheer number of sporting events we are privileged to host here on our little fleck in the Irish sea.
Too small to be mentioned by the BBC on their national weather forecasts - ever - radio, TV anywhere - hello can anybody hear me? - yes we pay our license fee too…
Anyway, sorry, rant over and getting back to my point, we have everything from the resurgent and world famous TT races, fantastic mass participations events like the parish walk and the end to end mountain bike race which seems to be on its way to achieving cult status.
Our facilities for a huge variety of sports at the NSC are first class and the envy of many who visit to compete there. The many courses offered by Manx Sport and Recreation are a great opportunity for kids to try out a variety of activities and complement the many clubs and federations promoting all manner of sports to all ages. All in all there is plenty to get involved in and some notable dates for the diary, but one event above all others holds a special place in my annual calendar, The Adventure Team Challenge!
This is an annual test of brain, brawn, endurance and above all teamwork which should not be missed. Organised as a charity event by the Children's Centre, and currently sponsored by PDMS, the Adventure Team Challenge manages to combine the best aspects of It's a Knockout and the Krypton factor with the more enjoyable bits of a corporate team building exercise. Every year between 15 and 20 teams assemble at a secret, and invariably stunningly scenic location to compete in a number of physical and mental challenges, some teams are fiercely competitive, others just enjoy the devious and often highly entertaining challenges set by the Children's Centre events team in what for them is a showpiece event. Whatever your level it is always both challenging and hugely enjoyable. One of the best things about doing this kind of thing with work mates is the hidden talents and character traits that may come to the fore when the competitive spirit (or extreme exhaustion) really kicks in.
One of our regulars who can't ride a bike for toffee (you know who you are) just happens to have a compensatory talent for building complex machines out of straws and parcel tape which is often a vital requirement for success in the mountain biking event. Another time the ability to complete a Sudoku puzzle in the rain without the paper disintegrating proved to be decisive in an off road vehicle themed event. You will notice I didn't say driving - we mostly had to push them.
All in all I always find I look forward to September with a mixture of excitement and trepidation, with the end to end and the Adventure Team Challenge on consecutive weekends there is plenty of variety but, much as I enjoy the atmosphere and challenge of the mountain bike event, nothing can beat the Adventure Team Challenge for fun, teamwork or the sheer unadulterated prestige of being the reigning champions!