Universal Love Grass Roots Footy - a COVID tale

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bunter

Club Legend
Apr 20, 2016
1,183
1,747
AFL Club
Collingwood
As the AFL season comes to a wind up and we are all discussing trades and big money deals & shipping out loved players and such, I though I would like to share an alternate end of season story.
country town, COVID calls a halt to footy season. The club relies on the food and bar for turnover and was in grave danger of folding. Social restrictions were lifted a bit and the lads were able to train in groups of 10 with no contact, the boys rolled up and trained. On they went and finally in April we get the go ahead to a 9 game season to start mid July. By this time the club was struggling but the volunteers kept it rolling, in May the whole town got behind the club and most bought memberships, donated and made sure we could field 3 teams. The netball team joined in as well. The club room and bar were still off limits but we made our own bar at our cars during and after the training session. We were backing the boys, they were busting to play footy. Some of the other country leagues were cancelled and we took some of their players in, all really good blokes as well so happy to be able to play. ready to roll.
Season under way and it was all on again, we got 4 home games and it was packed. The bar and food sales were a welcome relief. Not one of our sides made the finals, the nearby big town filled all those spots but the boys gave it their all. The theme from the coaching group was to throw away the book for the year and have fun playing footy. I think if the season went on we would of done well, the boys were starting to gel and had some good wins.
Presentations were last night, the whole club was there and paid tribute to players and volunteers alike. I found out that night that there are people who have been there for 40 years plus cleaning the rooms, pumping up the balls, strapping, stats.... all for the love of the club. We sat at a table with our family GP, a bunch of local contractors and the netball team. My son won a trophy and the respect he was shown by all was just brilliant, I’m so glad he is involved with this group of people.
So from thinking we may not have a season and worries about the club to this awards night was an absolute triumph, my sons dream to play in the big league is still alive and I have reaffirmed my massive respect for grass roots footy and my community. Footy really is the life blood of these towns and all 3 coaches committed to next year.
And yes, the post awards were very messy and I still have not learned that pints are bigger than pots.

long live footy,
Billy Bunter
 

Black_White

Brownlow Medallist
Oct 7, 2001
17,457
13,252
In the Pocket Rocket, lights ablaze!
AFL Club
Collingwood
As the AFL season comes to a wind up and we are all discussing trades and big money deals & shipping out loved players and such, I though I would like to share an alternate end of season story.
country town, COVID calls a halt to footy season. The club relies on the food and bar for turnover and was in grave danger of folding. Social restrictions were lifted a bit and the lads were able to train in groups of 10 with no contact, the boys rolled up and trained. On they went and finally in April we get the go ahead to a 9 game season to start mid July. By this time the club was struggling but the volunteers kept it rolling, in May the whole town got behind the club and most bought memberships, donated and made sure we could field 3 teams. The netball team joined in as well. The club room and bar were still off limits but we made our own bar at our cars during and after the training session. We were backing the boys, they were busting to play footy. Some of the other country leagues were cancelled and we took some of their players in, all really good blokes as well so happy to be able to play. ready to roll.
Season under way and it was all on again, we got 4 home games and it was packed. The bar and food sales were a welcome relief. Not one of our sides made the finals, the nearby big town filled all those spots but the boys gave it their all. The theme from the coaching group was to throw away the book for the year and have fun playing footy. I think if the season went on we would of done well, the boys were starting to gel and had some good wins.
Presentations were last night, the whole club was there and paid tribute to players and volunteers alike. I found out that night that there are people who have been there for 40 years plus cleaning the rooms, pumping up the balls, strapping, stats.... all for the love of the club. We sat at a table with our family GP, a bunch of local contractors and the netball team. My son won a trophy and the respect he was shown by all was just brilliant, I’m so glad he is involved with this group of people.
So from thinking we may not have a season and worries about the club to this awards night was an absolute triumph, my sons dream to play in the big league is still alive and I have reaffirmed my massive respect for grass roots footy and my community. Footy really is the life blood of these towns and all 3 coaches committed to next year.
And yes, the post awards were very messy and I still have not learned that pints are bigger than pots.

long live footy,
Billy Bunter
Great story, and unfortunately a very limited one as the majority of country clubs haven’t played a game this year.
I don’t pretend to know the future of grass roots footy, but it was bleak before Covid.
The volunteers will continue to try and keep their respective clubs alive, but with money about to disappear from government, and businesses shuttered, it’s going to be an uphill struggle.
 

bunter

Club Legend
Apr 20, 2016
1,183
1,747
AFL Club
Collingwood
Great story, and unfortunately a very limited one as the majority of country clubs haven’t played a game this year.
I don’t pretend to know the future of grass roots footy, but it was bleak before Covid.
The volunteers will continue to try and keep their respective clubs alive, but with money about to disappear from government, and businesses shuttered, it’s going to be an uphill struggle.
That’s the spirit mate!
 

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