Faith, hope and mostly charity
It has been a long while since I walked into a press launch for any government-backed sports initiative and had to join a disorderly queue to hang up my coat.
I have been to more events than I care to remember where the press officer looks relieved to see you, as their minister tries to sell their latest scheme. Often, the only thing that isn't dry is the coffee. It was a pleasant surprise, then, to discover that Wednesday's gathering for The Gold Challenge legacy initiative was not a bit like that.
The nursery pavilion at Lord's was heaving, the scattering of time-served and slightly cynical hacks lost in a sea of bright T-shirts, emblazoned with the logos of pretty much every charity you could think of. NSPCC, Oxfam, Combat Stress, St Mungo's, Cancer Research and Red Cross were but a few of the organisations represented.
Instead of a presentation from a lectern, we had a table tennis, a boxing ring, judo mats, archery targets and an invitation to participate. Plus there was a mass of people gathered, appropriately, to sell mass participation.
We have been here before. Sport England have been trying, with mixed results, to get more of us doing more sport more often, with an eye to the much discussed legacy opportunity of the 2012 Olympics in London.
This time, they might just have the right key to unlock us from our collective apathy.
Hundreds of thousands - possibly millions - of people have pledged support for their favourite charity, pulled on a vest and slogged around our streets in their running shoes in everything from huge city marathons to local 5k jogs.
They have e-mailed pals and pestered for sponsorship, posted their details on donation websites and made a commitment for a cause. Some of them said never again but, for others, it has been habit forming. The Gold Challenge hopes to tap into that spirit.
The central premise is that people looking for a challenge and with a charity to support will sign up to have a go at up to 30 different Olympic and Paralympic sports. What is required is not just a token throw of a javelin or a waft of a badminton racket but a commitment to at least three hours of proper coaching in each sport.
Once you have signed up, you then take advantage of the opportunities on offer, organised by the national sports governing bodies and backed by the British Olympic Association. You raise a wedge of cash for charity - up to £20m is hoped for - and, if things go well, at least 100,000 more people will be doing Olympic sports by the end of 2012 than are today.
Critics say this is not terribly strategic, amounts to little more than a lot of have-a-go sessions and is not going to reach those most in need of a few hours of sport for the sake of their own health.
In truth, with such a relatively modest participation target, it cannot be expected to contribute hugely to the numbers hoped for in the overall 'People Places Play' mass participation strategy launched recently.
In theory, there should be a few winners out of this. Sports get to see their numbers go up and might even find a proper athlete or two; the 100 charities linked to the scheme raise some money for their various causes; and a positive step towards delivering on the legacy promise of 2012 is taken.
With the fantastic databases of the charities to call upon, the 100,000 people willing to take up the challenge should not be too difficult to find. What might be more tricky is digging out the disenfranchised and stirring them into action.
The real legacy challenge is to motivate those who couldn't care less about sport, don't want the Olympics and for whom charity begins at home.