Be a good sport and get out there
Joining your local club will help you get fit, make new friends and back your community, writes JamieWall.
Club sport isn’t just about kids running around on a Saturday morning, it’s about coming together as a community and supporting your neighbours.
You don’t need to go far in any New Zealand town or city to see them. The white posts, some in a better state than others, that tell you from a distance that you’ve come across yet another sports club. Perhaps there’s even one on your street.
It’s a place where the neighbourhood kids kick a ball around, where Saturday afternoons come alive with the buzz of activity, and where you’ll find a humble building on the side of the ground filled with memories built right in your community.
It’s easy to get misty-eyed over the glory days of the local rugby, football or netball club, but it’s also easy to get yourself involved in something that benefits your local neighbourhood. You don’t need to worry about impressing the All Black selectors or even buying a new cricket bat; one of the first steps is to simply head along and support your local team.
But getting the most out of your club often starts at a young age, so getting your kids involved in club sport has so many benefits. First of all, they’re getting valuable exercise and learning important skills like teamwork and communication. But it goes deeper than that, kids often form long-lasting friendships through junior teams. It’s a great way for them to meet others from around the neighbourhood who they’ll hang out with at school and during the off season.
All clubs need help, so pitching in and volunteering is a really rewarding experience. This could be anything from coaching a kids’ team, helping with the aftermatch events or even getting involved with the governance of the club itself. There’s always a place for an extra pair of hands, or even the use of something you might have around the house; like some speakers, an unused bucket of paint or an old pair of boots that some player might need.
Of course, if you are still fighting fit and want to see if you’ve still got it, you can always get out and have a game. If you’re younger, there are plenty of senior grades to fit into of varying ability levels. If you’re on the older side, most sports offer a masters section where you don’t need to worry about keeping up with some youngster.
Winter sports are especially useful for getting out of the house for an afternoon for some fresh air, whatever the weather.
The feeling you get from being part of a club is one of true community spirit, a bunch of people from all walks of life being brought together for a common goal. Along the way you’ll work with other local neighbourhood people to get there, then all have a laugh over it at the club bar afterwards.
Find sports clubs in your community by heading to Neighbourly.co.nz.
There’s no age barrier to getting involved with your local sports club.