Sport and Society in Australia: Sport the ‘Glue’ That Binds and Keep Australian Communities, Alive and Thriving
by Danny Forrest and Andrew Parry, Department of Education, Victoria, Australia
The presenters will relate their practical experiences from working in educational settings and the importance of promoting sporting opportunities for all citizens and communities. In Australia sports experiences are available for 3 year olds up until 80 year olds. These can be in competitive organized sports or community-based activities with an emphasis on participation. The session will be based on the practical side of sport especially in rural and regional areas of Victoria.
We will compare and contrast (Australia/U.S.A.), How regional/rural communities thrive, value, build and provide sporting opportunities into a culture despite often having to ‘survive on the smell of an oily rag’ (An old Aussie saying – don’t have a lot of money). We will also discuss how provide opportunities for belonging versus a pure competition mentality can coexist, the importance volunteerism in these communities and inventive ways in which communities make the most of or provide unique experiences for everybody.
A special discussion will also dissect how money has changed loyalty of Australian Rules Football in rural areas. Currently a descent player (non-professional) can earn above $20,000.00 or more a year for a 20 game season in a rural remote area, what brought about this focus on money? What are the impacts on the communities? Why do communities raise the funds? It’s not uncommon for a town of 1000 citizens to raise figures in excess of $160,000 each year with no guarantee of winning the premiership (Super Bowl) to keep a competitive team on he field. Why complete this task? What do communities benefit and achieve from this? The answers will surprise you!