As community sport starts to make a tentative comeback following a period in the wilderness due to COVID-19, it’s got us reflecting on the importance of grassroots sport across Australia.
Its absence over these past few months of lockdown has shone a glaringly bright light on the vital contribution our sporting clubs make to the social, emotional and physical fabric of our communities.
Community sport is crucial to social cohesion and good mental health, particularly in our smaller rural and regional towns. It keeps our kids active, brings families and friends together, and fills our hearts and heads with happy hormones. For some, sporting clubs are also an important place of refuge - where they can feel safe, valued, and a sense of belonging.
While there’s been a lot to love about the quieter pace of life since restrictions came in to place back in March, weekends just haven’t been the same without the sound of an umpire’s whistle or end-of-game siren ringing in our ears.
Standing on the sidelines of a footy or soccer oval, or at the edge of a netball or basketball court in the depths of winter, cheering on your kids or favourite team as they battle it out for glory, is a quintessential way of life here in Oz - and things just don’t feel right without it.
And so, as sporting clubs across the country are deciding on how they’ll get back to sport post-Covid, and what that will look like for them under the new CovidSAFE rules, we look forward to supporting them to get back on their feet in any way we can.
Since the very first day we opened our doors we’ve been contributing, donating and sponsoring projects in our community – working closely with an enormous number of grassroots sporting clubs to help them achieve their dreams.
Each year Coolabah Turf contributes around $30,000 to regional sporting clubs and charitable organisations through our Community Sponsorship Program to provide meaningful support to the many amazing volunteers tirelessly serving our next gen of sporting heroes and, more broadly, our community behind the scenes.
As sponsors, we have no expectations of receiving any tangible results from the clubs we support this year. That’s just not important to us.
For us, our sponsorship investment in so many community sporting organisations is a long-term commitment. We believe wholeheartedly in the benefits of organised sport in our community and our contribution is made in the hope that those at the helm of all clubs will help the leadership teams concentrate on keeping junior players active, optimistic and inspired, and to look to the seasons ahead.
We’re deeply passionate about junior development in sport and encouraging active kids, healthy communities and ‘fit for life’ messages.
And it’s just so important right now to get our kids back into sport – for their mental wellbeing, as well as their physical health.
The Federal Government’s top sport agency, Sport Australia unveiled new rules in recent weeks for the return of community sport across the country.
Under the guidelines, only one parent will be permitted to attend their children’s games and they’ll be expected to watch on from their car where suitable. Grandparents have been told to stay away from all matches. High-fives, handshakes and huddles have all been banned and kids will have to shower and change at home.
As clubs continue working through these strange new rules and making arrangements for their futures, let’s all get behind them and support them in the difficult decisions they must make to move forward.
And when the time is right, we’ll again gather in our numbers on the sidelines, eat pies from the canteen, put our hands up for timekeeping, and barrack our collective hearts out. Hopefully in the not too distant future.