Kevin Lisbie and Shaun Batt spent the afternoon at Seven Kings High School in Ilford last Thursday and they took part in a question and answer session with some excited year seven students.
The O’s pair introduced themselves and the students began to ask questions about their training schedule, careers and advice. The eager pupils were desperately holding their hands in the air to ask Batt and Lisbie questions that they had prepared prior to the visit.
Lisbie and Batt gave the pupils an inspiring talk, which they focused on teaching them the importance of gaining an education.
Lisbie said, “You should always push yourself, you never know what you could achieve.”
One of the youngsters asked Lisbie why he chose to play football at a young age, Lisbie said, “It was a way of occupying myself and keeping myself off of the streets. It was something that I love doing and I think that if you work hard at something you love, anything is possible so I stuck with it.”
Batt was asked what advice he would give to aspiring footballers and his answer was, “Talent will only get you so far, being good at school and working hard is important. You should take advice on board and you have to be able to be strict with yourself and be able to get on with people.”
“I always worked hard at school because I knew that I would always need an education to fall back on.”
Lisbie then admitted, “I have told my children not to go to football this week as they needed to do their school work, they love football and that is good, but school comes first, football is for the fun after school work.”
Batt and Lisbie spoke about their personal journeys into professional football and they both explained that it was down to hard work and perseverance, and they both said how lucky they were. Lisbie said, “My mum gave me the push that I needed and I was always thankful for that.”
To finish the session, one of the pupils asked a question that Batt and Lsibie were surprised by because it was such a good question, the young boy said, “How have you overcome obstacles in your careers?”
Batt replied, “Injuries are hard obstacles in sport, I have had a lot of injuries and it can get you down. It can be very hard to come back from but I never give up.”
Lisbie said, “I pray before games, it makes me realise what is important and I feel that I can over come anything as long as I am thankful.”
Leon Barnard, P.E teacher and Learner Mentor at Seven Kings High School, “The pupils got a lot of inspiration. The questions that they asked Shaun and Kevin will help them in the future. They will take a lot from today and they are definitely more encouraged to do more.”