During the most recent lockdown I set myself the challenge of cycling the distance from our home ground at Overstenton to Ibrox stadium, on to Tannadice Stadium and back to Overstenton. The aim was to help raise funds for our club's Men's Wellbeing Group and to help raise awareness for Men's mental health in general.
Before I explain more, I would like to begin by saying a big thank you to everyone who supported me both financially and mentally during the challenge. It was tough at times, but with your support I managed to get through it - so thank you to everyone!
During the challenge I was asked some questions about my motivation for it and why I chose the particular route and destinations. Let me explain.
Three times as many men die from suicide than women each year - a staggering statistic. Men worry and are affected by stress just as much as women, but tend to hide their feelings more and will often not share this with anyone else. This stress can build to dangerously high levels over time and can make a person feel that they have no options left until ultimately, and sadly, some decide to take their own lives. Modern life and the struggles that come with it, and especially during the current crisis the World is experiencing, can make life not worth living for some - which is a travesty. But there is always hope and help available.
The Glenrothes Strollers Community Club established a Men's Mental Wellbeing Group in 2020. The group is free for all attendees and is open to any male who wants to socialise with other like minded individuals. It can be as simple as coming along to have a cuppa and a chat, a game of footie, or simply a walk round the park. The numbers have been growing slowly week by week but, unfortunately, the country lockdowns have meant that the usual fundraising efforts that we undertake to help pay for such groups have had to stop for the time being. It is a cause that is close to my heart and something that I feel is important to have in our community.
The reason for the football stadium destinations was due to the connection to football that a lot of men have on a weekly basis, travelling the country to support their team. So may men attend football on a Saturday to release some of the built up stress of the week and to have their time away from the madness of the world and cheer on their favourites. It is a means of escaping the thoughts and feelings that may dominate their minds during the course of the week without them even realising it.
Clearly, due to the current pandemic the majority of those fans haven't been in a stadium for over a year, so my journey was for those men in my life who are missing those days that they once enjoyed so much. Hopefully it won't be long before they are allowed back.
During my challenge, I virtually visited 30 football grounds, most of which have thousands of people inside them one day of the week for most of the year, so this was for those people. My journey was for them all!
Here's the full list of the grounds I passed on my journey - maybe one day I will be able to cycle it for real, rather than on a spin bike in my bedroom!
Overstenton - Glenrothes Strollers
Central Park - Cowdenbeath
New Central Park - Kelty
East End Park - Dunfermline
Fleet Gound - Rosyth
Tony Macaroni Arena - Livingston
Central Park - Whitburn
Hannah Park - Shotts Bon Accord
Fir Park - Motherwell
Fountain of Youth Stadium - Hamilton
Firhill Stadium - Partick
Cliftonhill Stadium - Albion Rovers
Excelsior Stadium - Airdrie
Broadwood Stadium - Clyde
Falkirk Stadium - Falkirk
Forthbank Stadium - Stirling Albion
Indodrill Stadium - Alloa
McDairmid Park - St Johnstone
Farquharson Park - Scone Thistle
Thompson Park - Lochee Utd
Lochee Park - Dryburgh Athletic
Dens Park - Dundee
Tannadice Park - Dundee United
The Canniepart - Tayport
The Clayton - St Andrews
Bayview Stadium - East Fife
Memorial Park - Thornton Hibs
Finally, to everyone, IT'S OK NOT TO BE OK - please tell someone if you are struggling. There is always someone to help.
Anyone wishing to donate, you still can. Thank you.
Glenrothes Strollers FC
Glenrothes Strollers Girls FC
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