Jamie Wall.

South Waikato News - - Out & About Backyard Banter -

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

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