Games perfect for football reunion
A chance to catch up with old friends and play the game he loves is what the Masters Games is all about for Matt Flanagan.
The Pukerua Bay resident will join with a squad of fellow Massey university alumni from across the country - and three are coming from Australia - in Whanganui in February to compete at the Games.
This will be the second time the group has entered the New Zealand Masters Games.
‘‘For the 2015 Masters Games we had a squad of 16, but by the end of the tournament we only had 10 fit players,’’ he said.
‘‘The group is fluid in terms of numbers and the team will be boosted in 2017 by a few who couldn’t make it last time due to work or family commitments.’’
The men all met at Massey and are 1997 graduates in a range of degrees such as business, arts, science, veterinary science and technology.
The Masters Games in 2015 was the first time they’d played football as a team for about 18 years.
It was a game that anyone can play, Flanagan said, but it was important to do some training prior to the tournament this time.
‘‘The grounds are super-hard and the games are high intensity, even if only very short,’’ he said.
‘‘We really enjoyed the chance to come together for a purpose and enjoy each other’s company again.
‘‘There were some lads who hadn’t seen each other for more than a decade but around the context of football, and a few beers, it was really easy to fall back into old friendships.
‘‘Our main objective is to just come together and have a great reunion.
‘‘The football is a bit of a means to an end, but having said that, we are a competitive lot and certainly want to give a good account of ourselves on the pitch!’’
The New Zealand Masters Games, the country’s biggest multi-sport event, is on in Whanganui from February 3 till 12.
About 6000 competitors are expected to compete across 55 sports and over 2400 individual events.
It is considered a social, along with sporting, occasion.
The New Zealand Masters Games began in 1989, with 1500 entrants across 29 sports, to where it is today.
Check out nzmg.com for more details and registration.