GRAIN VALLEY, Kan. — Storybook heroine Maggie Steele is on her way to the Isle of Man to encourage and support the return of youth pole-vaulting there.
Copies of the inspirational novel, Maggie Vaults Over the Moon, are being sent to the intrepid youngsters on the beautiful British Isle, where despite frigid temperatures and inadequate equipment, they’re determined to follow their own dreams, over the moon.
“Seeing them bundled up in coats and scarves reminded me of Maggie and her passion for pole-vaulting,” Overstake said. “In my story, Maggie bundles up in multiple layers and vaults in freezing cold weather to achieve her goals. It’s obvious that they, too, have the tenacity and grit to become outstanding pole-vaulters.”
Trevor Christian, Athletics Development Officer and Sport Development Unit Coach, was eager to accept an offer for Maggie to visit the Isle of Man.
“Our vaulters will be so inspired to read about someone who has managed to find success in their sport against the odds that are thrown at them,” he wrote. “I can’t wait for them to be inspired by Maggie Vaults Over the Moon. Our group is very much in its infancy, but the enthusiasm is fantastic.”
Maggie, the gutsy Kansas farm girl who overcomes hardship and soars to new heights as a pole-vaulter, has become the most inspirational storybook pole-vaulter in the world.
Her story has become an instant classic in the vaulting community. She has been warmly embraced in the United Kingdom by West London Pole Vault Coach Ellie Spain, and masters world champions, Allan Williams and Sue Yeomans for her inspiring message to young people. Wonderful reviews have written by young vaulters, including this one, telling how much Maggie has inspired them, in sports and in life.
The similarities between Maggie Steele and Isle of Man vaulters are many. Like this group, Maggie loves pole-vaulting so much, she’s willing to brave winter temperatures bundled in layers of sweat clothes. And like this group, Maggie learns to vault under less than ideal circumstances. But with lots of hard work, burning desire, and great coaching, she achieves outstanding results.
After a quick online study of the country, Maggie learned that the Isle of Man is located in the middle of the northern Irish Sea, almost equidistant from the islands of Great Britain and Ireland. The closest land is southern Scotland. It’s blessed with a stunning natural landscape and unspoiled beaches; and is fiercely proud of its diverse culture and fascinating heritage. According to its tourist website, the Isle of Man has a captivating story to tell – one which stretches back for thousands of years.
“The country has great folklore stories and history with Celtic crosses and ancient Viking burial grounds as well as a number of heritage landmarks,” the author reports. “Maggie will hear tales of giants, fairies and brownies – which were said to intervene in the lives of ordinary people. And she might even get to say “Hello” to the fairies as she passes over Fairy Bridge!”
A former pole-vaulter himself, Coach Christian is passionate about bringing the world’s greatest sport back to the Isle of Man after more than a decade. But finding the athletes (about a dozen so far, ranging in age from 11 to 34) has been a lot easier than finding safe equipment for them to vault with, he added.
According to Coach Christian, the group needs 3,000 to 3,500 pounds to establish an Isle of Man Pole-Vaulting Club, and purchase new fiberglass poles. He hopes to raise the funds through direct donations and fund-raising projects as well.
“After watching their video, I wish I could give all of them the money they need and give them all copies of my novel,” Overstake said. “Maybe after reading this story, some of the outstanding vaulters and fans of vaulting will be willing to donate to this worthy cause.”
Send the books and/or donations for new poles to: Trevor Christian, Athletics Development Officer, Sport Development Unit, Groves Road, Douglas, Isle of Man, IM2 1RB, British Isles. Or contact Coach Christian via email at trevor.christian(at)gov.im