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family EWEN JONES MP I FEDERAL MEMBER FOR HERBERT

JUNIOR SPORT MORE THAN JUST A GAME “LIFE WAS FAIRLY SIMPLE THEN. MEMBERSHIP WAS CHEAP, AND THERE WAS NO SUCH THING AS INSURANCE. ANYONE COULD PLAY.”

The best things about playing team sport are not the games you play or the training you do. It is, for me, the friendships you make and the stories you tell years after about the trips away. I played all sports through my school life and retired from rugby after I turned 30. I played on the Darling Downs and in Brisbane. As a player, I peaked between absolute rubbish and really poor. I was able to hold that standard for just two weeks before slipping back into the mire of “well, we have nobody else”. Our club’s big trip was every second year when we ventured to our sister club in Sydney. When they travelled to Queensland, they flew to the Gold Coast, were chauffeured up to Brisbane for the game. To get to Sydney, we had to con a player to stay off the grog and drive the team bus as we drank through the night to Sydney, played the game (always lost) and then hit the town. It was a test of strength how long you could go before all your mates bundled you into the corner of the bus. While they could play awful tricks on you, they would be there if the chips were down. Once, we were in a bar in Sydney very late at night. One team mate had fallen asleep at the bar. The bouncers saw this and tried to take him outside, so the three of us objected. Without putting too much detail in here, we were not successful in our negotiations and the discussion was quickly terminated. Hours later, back at the motel, I get a bang on the door.

It was just getting light when I opened the door to see a furious mate standing there. “Nice bunch of mates you blokes are”, he railed. “Left me asleep at the bar! What happened to you lot?” he asked when he saw that one of us had a broken nose, I was sporting a black eye, and the other was nursing a mild concussion after getting up close and personal with the doors. So we ended up laughing about it and we still do whenever we get together. We all survived. Life was fairly simple then. Membership was cheap, and there was no such thing as insurance. Anyone could play. You looked after your own gear and your own tape. There was room for the really good players as well as the guys like me. Team sport teaches so much more than just the game. It teaches spirit; putting the interests of others before your own; sacrifice; and discipline. That is why I like my kids to play. I know how hard it is for parents to afford the fees just to sign up, let alone for gear and trips away. When we talk about the disengagement of today’s young people and why they do not play team sport, perhaps we have to look at why sport costs so much for families. Everyone should have a story of how their team came from behind to win and why you were man of the match. There I was…

NICOLE PIEROTTI I CHILD PSYCHOLOGIST I BABYSMILES

KIDS JUST THINK THEY’RE HAVING FUN “KIDS LOVE SPORT AND DO IT BECAUSE IT’S FUN, BUT THERE IS A WHOLE STRING OF BENEFITS THAT SPORT TEACHES”

Love to have a child that is fair, confident and doing well academically at school? Of course you do, it’s probably at the top of a parents priority for how they want their child to be. What if you could do this fairly easily as well as decrease their likelihood of drug use and disease in the future? Interested… well, its easy and kids just think they are having FUN! The answer: enrol them in a team sport. Kids love sport and do it because it’s fun, but there is a whole string of benefits that sport teaches, instils and develops in kids without their or your knowing. Sport makes kids thrive! With a little encouragement kids will leave the ‘screen’ behind and pick a football or soccer ball instead. One of the most important lessons kids learn from sport is to play fair. According to the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, sport does do this, particularly if parents are actively involved in the sport – you can do this too by going to some games, talking about them afterwards, helping your child handle disappointments

and showing them – modelling – respectful, good sports behaviour. Some benefits of sport are easy to see, like co-ordination, playing in a team, but research shows that strategic thinking and even math skills are learned by playing sports. Kids who play sport are less stressed as the physical activity is a release for negative emotions. Now, just for girls – research has found that girls who play sport are more likely to think well about their body, be more confident, and not overweight. Girls are also interestingly enough, less likely to become pregnant. Finally, kids develop discipline – they learn to set goals, work to get to them and they then in turn learn that by working hard they can accomplish the things that they really want to in their lives. As a parent, this string of benefits is sure hard to dismiss. To your kid they are just having FUN. www.babysmiles.com.au

DUO MAGAZINE JUNE 2013 duomagazine.com.au 77

DUO Magazine June 2013  

DUO Magazine is North Queensland’s very own luxury lifestyle publication. Now in its seventh year, the independent glossy has secured a plac...