A changing sporting landscape
‘Back in my day I played cricket in the summer and football in the winter...’
I try and avoid ‘back in my day’ statements as they are unlikely to be received well either at school or in my own family! However, there is little doubt that attitudes to traditional sport and leisure activities are changing.
In my previous interstate school, I sometimes felt I was running a sporting academy. There were endless sporting opportunities and a proliferation of scholarships for students at my school and other schools. The competition was elite and it sometimes seemed that ‘fast legs’ and athletic prowess were prioritised.
At John XXIII College we have a far better balance of activities for our students. However, we are certainly very keen to reflect on our offerings and work on meeting the needs of our students. The Northern Area Schools (NAS) competition has recently conducted a survey of a random selection of students from the five schools to ascertain their thoughts on our existing competitions. I have received a draft of the report and its recommendations suggest a re-think of our offerings. I look forward to sharing insights after we have had the opportunity to discuss findings within our community and with Heads of Sport and Principals of the other schools.
I like that our NAS sport is participation based. I have also enjoyed the growth in our Rowing program from 50 Rowers to nearly 200 over the past three years. Our John XXIII Netball Club provided 35 teams this year. It is another strong sport well supported by our students, families and the College. At this year’s Secondary Sport Award Night, a video was played acknowledging and congratulating our students who have achieved at State or national level in their chosen sports. Most of the training for these pursuits happens through sporting clubs and associations as distinct from the school. That is how it should be!
As students move from Primary to Secondary schooling there can be a reduced tendency for some students to be active during the school day. We need to look at how this can change. It may not be a case of adding more teams but examining creative ways our students can remain healthy through a combination of structured and unstructured activities.
‘Back in my day, lunchtime was my favourite period.’ It still is... I love wandering the school during break times and interacting with our students and staff. It has the added health benefit of achieving 10,000 steps per day. On returning to my office, it is also amazing how challenging issues become less challenging and I can attend to tasks more efficiently. The benefits of a healthy mind and body are apparent for all members of our community.