Equipped with just an IKEA bag full of balls and bibs and an inclusive attitude, DUMP FC, a 130-strong group of ‘Desperately Unskilled Mixed Players’ sprang from one social media post requesting other participants to play mixed football.
For many, it’s their favourite thing in Bristol, the cornerstone of their week and a welcoming space for them to reappraise themselves, their bodies, and their relationship with sport.
At first glance a rainswept floodlit astroturf pitch by the Portway makes for an unexceptional sight. But it’s the attitude and ethos that makes the club special to its members.
“Team sports can be really exclusive if you don’t fit the mould of being sporty and athletic,” says George, one of the organisers. “All the good stuff being in a team sport can give, like camaraderie and shared purpose, feels out of bounds for a lot of people. Here, there’s a proactive approach towards accommodating different abilities.”
These regularly reiterated club values have led to a “social snowballing” in the group – the most competitive aspect is being among the first 20 members to count in every Sunday evening for the following day’s game. “We’ve seen there’s clearly a big appetite for mixed sport that’s accommodating of all shapes, sizes and abilities,” says George.
Kerrie, whose social media post first got the DUMP ball rolling, would love to see more sports be friendlier and more accessible. “Don’t be afraid if it’s not your speciality – running a football team wasn’t ours,” she says.
“Put the plea out there and you will attract people with lots of different skills who can help you. If you want to start your own group of whatever sport, you’ll find people – we did, and we’ve now got this enormous football team.”
You can get in touch with DUMP FC via the team’s Instagram page
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