These days when the blame for every English sporting failure, whatever the shape of the ball or bat, is put down to the alleged absence of sport in schools, it was a pleasure to watch the Greater Manchester Youth Games last month.
Fifteen different sports were played by more than 5,000 youngsters aged between 11 and 17. John Major, who was reportedly in front of the TV at the time watching England lose at rugby, might have found more to lift his spirits in Manchester.
A new Fair Play Award, voted for by all teams, was won by Bury. All competitors were given sweat shirts printed with their team's name.
The games have attracted much sponsorship. For the companies involved the sight of so many young people enjoying themselves and acquiring skills for the future must have been very rewarding. Their money was well spent.
But the real accolades should go to the often maligned games teachers and sports coaches for devotion well beyond the line of duty.
Tim Lowe is a teacher at Wells Cathedral School, Somerset