Monday, June 20, 2011

Make the right call

I had a meeting with this guy from the council about sporting facilities for our school. I want a massive 300,000 dollar multi purpose arena and no-one is wanting to fund any part of it. I was trying to explain why the simple things are easy to do and that schools cant sit back and do nothing. So take this as an example of why we cant sit there and do nothing.

Several years ago we bought 6 outdoor basketball hoops and backboards (10k) for school. We made sure the hoops were low, so that 5 year olds can throw a hoop. As we only go to year six we didn't need to go to ten foot hoops, but we made sure they were removable so that the vandals wouldn't ruin our gear. Here we are 8 years later with about 5 teams playing regularly and hundreds of kids have put in thousands of hours of games/fun/practice over the years. My son and his mates are all still playing basketball regularly for their high schools. I go watch his games and kids from all sorts of schools and backgrounds are all over basketball.
Six years ago a young guy who arrived at school saw the older boys hooping and decided that he wanted to play. This young boy is on the short side and when he started it was quite cute to see someone even holding a ball that seemed so big. Obviously with the low hoops and smaller balls the game became achievable. Now six years on Tauhir is a very very good player, he isn't the tallest about but he can play. So much so that he is going to a worldwide basketball training camp in Florida sponsored by IMG. His family are digging into their pockets, raising cash and helping their young fella chase a dream. If he went to a different school would he even be playing basketball?
I'm not patting our school on the back here, i'm saying that without opportunity kids wont play or participate.
Ever wondered why NZ doesn't produce tennis players, it's a dead sport in NZ because the kids don't play it. Softball is dead. Cricket is dying. Hockey, partially dead. The list goes on, don't get me wrong your school may be going great at hockey, seems everyone in Palmerston North has hockey (insert weird here) but Tennis, it's all over, you once were brilliant but now you are custard.
So get the facilities and let the kids decide what gets kicked for touch.

So answer this: why don't the sports do something? Soccer NZ had a team at the world cup, the all whites were famous for 6 weeks. Now 1 year later what have they done to promote soccer, to deliver the knockout punch. Here is what they did. Play two crap games against Mexico and Australia and lose 3-0 twice, then moan about why the shouldn't have played.
Why didn't they set up a mini soccer field at every school, put in posts with nets, kids crave facilities, they want to put the ball in the back of the net (who doesn't). Lets get this straight, i can't stand soccer but i do love sport and i recognise the importance of all sport, so I built two mini soccer fields with post and nets, because kids come first.
Maybe my next Tauhir will play at a world cup.
Will yours kids play anything without opportunity?
Stop spending your money on admin blocks!


Richard J. Lloyd said...

So very true!! I also wondered where all the "World Cup" money went. Thought NZF were meant to be funding football - Tui sign anyone? Careful with the Palmerston North jibs fella ;-). Hockey is great down here because it's something that kids of all shapes and sizes can play! We also have great facilities around the region so of course they'll play! "Field of Dreams" anyone? Build the stuff and they'll come? Nice reflection on how making sensible choices for kids gear makes lasting changes in their lives! Keep up the good work!

Podgorani said...

I suppose the story is replicated by hockey being popular in palmy because everyone has facilities.
but yeah what is soccernz doing . muppets..

Podgorani said...

I reckon if you moved this analogy to the classroom and you taught a kid to read, to be as passionate about their learning as some kids are about sports. when they become a prime minister or author you could take a bow.
or the passion for art leads to an amazingly talented artist.
gear up or get out...

Regan Orr said...

Time to add to the thread rather than Twitter. I agree with many of your sentiments....some sports are on the decline and it's a crying shame. Being an avid racquet sport person (tennis and squash), these are sports we rarely hear much of in NZ anymore - they were huge once. I look at our kids at my school with pride - every lunchtime, the vast majority of them are playing some form of sport: rugby, soccer, basketball, netball, cricket, 4 Square (can that be classed a sport?!). And you are quite right - stop spending money on 'unnecessary' items. We have just used our Kiwi Sport money to employ a Sports Coordinator to further excel and engage our children with a wide range of sports - dodge ball, baseball, badminton, long ball, and the usuals or rugby and netball.
Agree again - in todays world, I think we DO need to provide the opportunity for our kids.
Best of luck with getting your facility!

Moturoa said...

Same applies to artistic talent.

This young man started school with a ukulele without strings. Over time and with a newly formed school band and guitar lessons supported in school time he has been able to pursue his talent and get good at it, bring acclaim for his peers and a reason to be at school.


Nigel Frater said...

Great post Luke, good luck with the 300 000 from the council though! We have 2 very nice indoor hoops as a result of a grant application I put in and the kids are b-ball mad now!