A little bit of country life

Last week marked the start of the point score competition and on a day that was more like the start of the summer season, I thought that I would go on a bit of a country and western tour to watch some games. The journey started by heading to Kyogle to watch a 6th Division match where I was hoping to see a brother-in-law running around for Alstonville but a thigh injury kept him out of the match. It is not surprising that players suffer injuries, but sustaining such an injury before the start of the first game suggests to me that perhaps age is catching up with him?

It is always enjoyable to go to Kyogle and whilst I really felt for the players who were playing in the hot conditions, everything about the venue reminds me of how positive sport is. A small community that has limited resources and where sport brings together people who do not care what their “Monday to Friday” lives may be about. They share an enthusiasm for participation and whilst some success on the pitch is good, their primary motivation is to enjoy the camaraderie of team sport. Within the environment of a small community, sport has extra importance though as the option for social activity is limited. Seeing families coming to support the team and the club is inspirational and whilst this happens at all sporting clubs, the significance is more pronounced at the small rural locations.

Another feature of village life is that people are very friendly and it is easy to strike up a conversation with almost anyone. Whilst not unique to Kyogle I also noticed how the players chatted and shook hands with the opposition before the match, setting the scene for respect and fair play. As we go up the divisions there seems to be a tradition of only allowing the captains to shake hands before a game. Competition can be fast and furious but surely the exchange between players does not always have to be left until the end of a game? Maybe we could schedule at least one match through the season for all teams at a venue like Kyogle to remind us that sport has many dimensions to it.


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