We need a spell from the footy
As we track through spring towards summer a growing sporting chestnut has again reared its head.
The arrival of warmer weather has traditionally heralded an annual change where people keen to pursue competitive sport and to keep life interesting switch codes.
Having choice of sports to pursue has been one of the great strengths of the Wimmera, but times are changing.
Our wonderful winter sport of football, despite its vague amateur status, is continuing its march towards being too big for its boots.
There is no question that football-netball clubs are an integral part of regional community culture. But so too are other sporting organisations.
Contemporary demands of football are encroaching too heavily on other long-term institutions. So much effort is going in to meet football demands stretching well beyond winter that they are soaking up player and volunteer energy and willpower.
As a result, in a region where there are only so many bodies to go around, traditional summer sports such as cricket and tennis are copping a battering.
Every summer we’re seeing more lonely playing fields and more empty courts.
Players, administrators, volunteers and supporters often explain their pulling away from summer sporting commitments by saying they do not not have enough time, when combining the needs of football with everyday life, to fit everything in.
They add that they need an empty weekend to have a rest.
There used to be an unwritten code of respect where football leaders would take a magnanimous approach to the needs of their players and officials who were summer sports enthusiasts in the ‘off season’.
This seems to be disappearing – so much so that there have been cases where players who dare to miss football pre-season training sessions because of cricket or tennis duties, even at a high level, are finding themselves ostracised or punished. Fair go! People like Horsham Cricket Association leader Tony Wills and his fellow board members, trying to maintain their game in the region, have every right to be frustrated.
There are also wider health implications involved in this trend and umbrella organisations overseeing sport and recreation in general would be wise to take note.
As much as many of us love it to death, we need to give footy the boot for at least a few months of the year.