We need a spell from the footy

The Weekly Advertiser Horsham - - News -

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.

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