FIVE MINUTES WITH: BECKI MCWHINNIE
We caught up with alumnae, staff member and Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games volunteer Becki McWhinnie, to find out what it was like to be behind the scenes of the city’s biggest sporting event ever!
Q: What’s your current role at the University?
A: Club Development Manager for UoB Sport & Fitness – this means I manage the student sport side of things, including our 56 sports clubs!
Q: Why did you choose to volunteer for the Games?
A: To get involved with a unique experience on my doorstep. I didn’t want to have the fear of missing out and wanted to be as involved as possible! I played cricket when I was at the University and it is still my favourite sport, so to have the chance to be a part of that at an international level was too good to miss – especially as I used to play at Edgbaston where the event would be!
Q: What role did you have? What were you expected to do?
A: I was a Field of Play Team Member at Edgbaston, supporting the grounds staff in making sure the field was up to scratch for the players. This included things like laying out the (very heavy) boundary rope, checking access to the pitch and putting the covers on when it rained.
Q: Where were you based?
A: Mainly at Edgbaston Cricket Ground. It was great because you got to know a few of the other regular volunteers, but also met new team members every day, so it was very varied.
Q: Did you get to see any of the Games as a spectator?
A: Yes! I was lucky enough to get tickets for hockey, diving and netball. Hockey was my favourite experience by far, watching players and spectators come from all over the word and marvel at the beauty of campus. I was very proud to be a part of it both from the volunteer side and from the alumni / staff side!
Q: How was the experience? What are your favourite memories?
A: Amazing. Being on pitch side during the India- Pakistan game was unbelievable. Two teams with the best supporters created the most amazing atmosphere.
Q: Do you have any unusual/amusing stories of things that occurred?
A: I did sustain a very impressive bruise from the boundary rope at one point – it is so heavy that you need a number of people to move it in sync, so if someone is out of time and you lose your hold it gives you a bit of a bump!
Q: How did it feel to know your place of work was hosting the Games, and many of your colleagues were involved?
A: It made it feel so much like we were a part of it, and felt like sharing something special with everyone. Seeing so many people you recognised when walking around campus as a volunteer or staff make it feel like such a great community.