CORE Sporting Champions – Central Academy’s John-Joseph

CORE Sporting Champions are students who promote the core values of collaboration, respect, and excellence in all the sporting opportunities they take part in.

John-Joseph Cox is part of the Central Academy Boccia team led by Mrs Miles. They were recently crowned Birmingham’s School Games Level 3 Boccia Pan winner’s 2019, following their win the Level 2 games in 2018.

Boccia is a target sport; players need to throw their ball as close to the target or jack as possible. You always play Boccia inside on a pitch about the same size as a badminton court. Players can be in wheelchairs and can also not be in a wheelchair, but it is a sitting down game. You can roll or throw the ball, and some people can use a special ramp to roll the ball. Mixed teams can play Boccia, it’s not just all boys or all girls. Players are either in the red or blue team, using red or blue balls to throw at the jack. The first team or player throws the jack and then throws their ball, then it is the turn of the other team. Each team has a captain who is in the middle of the line of players and they decide who throws next. Points are scored for the number of balls closest to the jack. Whoever has got the most points after all the rounds wins the match.

CORE Education Trust sat down with John-Joseph to find out how he promotes our CORE values through his sporting achievements:

Congratulations on your win, can you tell us about it?

“We won every match that we played, and the last one we played was the hardest, as the other team was undefeated. It all came down to one point; the other team threw the ball and accidentally knocked one of ours into place, so if it wasn’t for that, we’d probably have lost and come second.”

What was your mindset going into the final?

“I was quite nervous – we knew they hadn’t lost a match so in my head I was feeling nervous. We played that same team last year, and we beat them, but again it was only by one point so I was really worried that this year they’d beat us, and as a team we were all really nervous. We got through it as a team, though.”

What’s the biggest thing you’ve learnt through playing Boccia?

Teamwork. Now I’ve been playing Boccia, I understand teamwork better and can work with other people in a team a lot better. I get along better with people now; before I used to be nervous about people taking charge, but now I’ve learned how to work in a team for Boccia, it’s helped me with my other classes too.”

How did you get involved in the sport?

“It was by complete chance – Miss Miles was looking to put together a team and she randomly asked me one day if I wanted to learn how to play this sport called Boccia, which I had no idea what it was. She explained it to me and I thought it didn’t sound too bad, so I said I’d give it a go and we went and I really enjoyed it.”

What would you like to achieve next?

“Hopefully we’ll win the tournament next year, but I think we should try doing training at break to get the team ready and develop Boccia in school further so that other students have an opportunity to learn and play.”

Can you give us a motivational quote to inspire your fellow students?

“Even if you’re not sure about something, try it anyway, because you might just love it. You should always give things a go.”

John-Joseph with Central Academy’s Head of PE/Health Wayne McAllister