Sport For Fun

December 22, 2014

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During 2014 Interchange Outer East introduced a number of new and innovative programs to its growing list of fun opportunities for children. Sport for Fun is one such program whose title describes exactly what the program is all about.

Interchange Outer East’s CEO Fred Brumhead, an avid sports player and fan, attends every Sport for Fun session and shares his thoughts on the aims and running of the program, in the following report.

“An indoor soccer match, 15 kids, five adults – a sort of rolling scrum of humanity as the ball moves around. Amidst the chaos a young lad is sitting cross legged on the floor, serene in a yogic type of trance. What are you doing? I enquired… “participating” was the response. “As long as I am on the court I am participating”.

Such is life in the Sport for Fun program. For the past 14 or so Mondays we have been gathering at InSports in Knox for 90 minutes of fun and mayhem. This is a sports program for those who love, loathe or are indifferent to what is seen as sport by our community. This is sport for fun, removing the competitive culture that ensures only the good get a go, to one where all are welcome for what they bring to the table. So we have people sitting cross legged in the middle of a soccer match. Referees who blow their whistle to give someone a free hit / throw / kick because they said please. One young lady who runs around and around then lies down because she’s tired, laughing hysterically. A chap who smacks the ball in cricket, turns raises his bat in acknowledgment of the crowds applause…or… just throws the bat away. We have played cricket, netball, handball, soccer, hockey, football, softball type games: group games such as dodgeball, crocodile-crocodile, steal n stow, protect the President: weird warm up events like dragon run, relays, chasing games, crawling etc. It’s basically just playing … but with balls, bats and sticks.

Sport for Fun is a group of children and adults all together having fun, improving skills with a ball/bat, cooperating, sharing and respecting people for who they are not how good they are. Too often for children sport is not fun, nowhere has this been more obvious as when we tried to play football. Many of the kids dropped their heads and began complaining as they have been told they are not good enough to play and they don’t understand the rules. Sport and games are not inherently bad but we as a community have managed to mangle it into something to be feared if you are not perceived to be good. With sport we divide and conquer – people play in age groups, we play in teams, we dislike the opposition, we organise and manage sport with rules, processes and procedures. Why? Why can’t adults and children play together, older and younger children, making up teams, modifying rules, being flexible, using people with skills to bring others into the game, and all being focused on having fun? This is what Sports for Fun attempts to do.

Sometimes its like herding cats to get the group organised, there will be some strange sporting action: some go the wrong way, some have white line fever (an affliction that inculcates a normally sane person with a manic desire to win once a game begins) there will be some ouch’s (usually caused by over enthusiastic adults) and games of sport that look like no other form of the game ever played! But if you have a core group of people committed to make it happen, this program can help sport get to the stage where it is fun for all people who want to have the opportunity to play.

Interchange has been running sports for fun for the past 2 terms. The program is led by Maddi Lum and Maddi is supported by a group of committed volunteers – Jenny, Leon and Lia who attend each week. The program is open to all (children with disabilities, siblings, friends) and will be continuing in 2015. In March IOE hopes to expand the program by establishing a second program out in the Yarra Valley, so further spreading the message that sport can be fun.”

By Fred Brumhead


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