The Road Less Travelled

Since the foundation of Bath and Wiltshire SFA in 2003 the organisation has had the pleasure of looking after hundreds of boys and their families.  One of the greatest privileges and pleasures is being able to accompany young people at the start of their ‘journey’.  We are aware that it is football that brings us together, but recognise that each individual’s path will be unique and can lead in any direction.  There is no judgment of one boy’s path being more successful than an other’s; ‘in the long run, what people think about shepherds and bakers becomes more important to them than their own destiny’. In this sense, we see part of our role to cajole, energise and support whilst the boys figure out for themselves what their destiny could be – it is both intriguing and exciting.

One such journey stands out perhaps slightly more.  Jacques Miche attended Newbridge Junior School and was a definite late developer.  He may have been small, but he was lightening quick, with great acceleration, agility and a bit of trickery.  This made him the perfect offensive player!  He was a fantastic addition to the year group which also included Max O Leary and Zak Vyner who currently play for BCFC.  Whilst Jacques played for Larkhall too, he was unable to attend all of our training sessions owing to many other commitments alongside his school work; music and dance.  It was perhaps this fantastic mix that gave Jacques the skills, confidence and athletic ability that made him stand out from the crowd.  It also highlighted the importance of not specialising too early; it was a practical example for us as coaches that the boys should be encouraged to do as many different things as possible pre-adolescence.

Jacques’ dedication and commitment paid off quickly.  He was chosen from hundreds of hopefuls to play the role of the Artful Dodger in Oliver in the West End.  And boy was he good.  Indeed, it was remarkable how such a young boy could hold an audience and excel whilst showcasing a variety of talents.  He sang, he danced, performed numerous gymnastics moves and acted all at the same time.  Truly incredible, and a real inspiration to us all.

But what was most impressive was his humility.  Jacques may have been a star in the West End, but he took it all in his stride and with the support of his lovely family, continued giving his all in school and on the sports field.  No easy feat when one considers that he was leaving school early and travelling continuously up and down from London, sometimes returning at 0200 in the morning after a show.  Jacques remained the polite and thoughtful young man we came to know, and even agreed to do school assemblies to inspire others to work hard for their dreams.

Jaques has just completed his run on the West End starring in Jason in Saving Jason (Park Theatre) Previous credits include; Bugsy Malone (Lyric Hammersmith); Bugsy Malone(Lyric Hammersmith); Isaac Tallentire in The Hired Man (NYMT, Nikolai Foster); Brett in 13 The Musical (NYMT); The Artful Dodger in Oliver! the Musical (Cameron Mackintosh ltd); Chip in Beauty and the Beast (UK Productions); Tiny Tim in A Christmas Carol (The Royal Northern Ballet Company). Television:Daniel in The Revolting World Of Stanley Brown (Retort Productions).  We are sure the journey has lots of twists and turns yet.

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