Life skills role for clubs
I have written in this column before about the attributes of sport and being part of a sporting team.
And the recent AFL Brownlow Medal win by Richmond Football Club’s Dustin Martin further supports this view.
I believe sporting clubs right around Australia, whether they be AFL, NRL, netball, rugby or soccer, play a role in helping mould youngsters into good citizens.
As a board member of a number of sporting organisations, I am conscious of not just the role sport plays, but the priority it puts on the influence it can have on individuals.
Along with helping young men and women achieve success in their chosen sport, as organisations, we need to realise developing skill is only a relatively small part of our job.
In my opinion, sporting clubs that do it right, give these individuals so much more.
For instance, a sense of belonging, to start with.
It is human nature to yearn for connections, to feel part of something, and, thus, in many respects, a sense of worth.
Social skills, how to communicate and simply get on with others. Add to this, learning to abide by rules, and working as a team, and you realise that a sporting club’s influence can be quite impacting.
So, if a sporting club is doing everything right, or even some things right, it can really have a big impact on who someone is, or becomes.
I am not privy to his past, but do know that he has had his ups and downs in life, and after listening to his acceptance speech, it was obvious that he is indebted to football and the Richmond Football Club.
Now, I know I’m a real softy, but I was filled with admiration for this bloke, as he reluctantly stood in the limelight, in fact, in front of the nation and unfolded the paper in his hand to give a very humble acceptance speech.
The AFL, Richmond, and his club in country Victoria, without doubt, have all contributed in creating one of the most talented and exciting athletes to grace a sporting field.
There are many possible Dustin Martins out there, and without the support of a sporting club in their life, success just wouldn’t happen.