By Christopher Reive
Gemma Flynn likes nothing better than to pass on her wisdom to the next generation.
The Black Sticks forward had a busy day at the NZCT AIMS Games today, attending a breakfast, giving advice to competitors, signing autographs and posing for photos.
After featuring as one of the key speakers at last night’s opening ceremony, the Tauranga native explained the Games are a great platform for the student athletes to get a taste of what it’s like to compete in a week-long tournament.
“I think they like that they’ll get a week out of school but they can be really proud of representing their school and themselves and their families as well,” she said. “It’s a great platform to be together and learn those team dynamics, as well.”
Flynn said the best part of the tournament for her is all the people coming together to play and compete.
“Seeing everyone together excited – it kind of has that Commonwealth Games or Olympic feeling in terms of a tournament,” she said. “All the different sports mean you get to meet new people, it’s really great for the town and no better place to have it than Tauranga.”
The presence of a New Zealand hockey representative has had a positive impact of the athletes at the Tauranga Hockey Centre too.
Papamoa College player Jody McCaul said Flynn’s presence has inspired her to play harder.
“It’s really cool to see a Black Stick down here watching you and it gives me a little bit more confidence,” McCaul said.
An advocate of healthy living, Flynn is part of the 100 Percent Project which teaches schools and businesses about being healthy and happy inside out, which is a philosophy that applies to the AIMS Games athletes.
She said the main thing for the students is to make the most of the week and have fun while doing it.
“I remember someone once said to me there are no shortcuts to a place worth going,” Flynn said. “At the end of the day enjoy it, make new friends, have a positive experience and they’ll look back on this one day as one of the best weeks of their life.”