With the announcement of major sport cancellations across the globe due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we as fans are certainly feeling the loss. The impact has also been felt at community level as clubs and leagues have been forced to shutdown to help stop the spread of the virus
I have been involved in community sport for a while now through my role on the board at the Darebin Women’s Sports Club. The Darebin Falcons, as we are known, have a proud and successful history in women’s football. What some may not know is that we are a multi-sports club that offers opportunities to women and girls in football, soccer, cricket and 8 Ball. That translates to about 800 women and girls playing sport, plus the community that surrounds us—coaches, trainers, administrators, support staff, families and friends.
It’s a thriving and bustling community which comes together a couple of nights a week plus game days. For many of us, it’s also a vital social outlet, the one place in the world where we truly fit in. I know that when I first walked into the Falcons’ nest, I felt like I had come home.
So, what happens when that gets taken away? A key discussion point and a high priority at our most recent board meeting (via Zoom, everyone’s new favourite video meeting platform), was how to maintain our connectedness even though we’re physically apart.
We’ve implemented a couple of things which I’ll outline below. The list is by no means exhaustive, but in short, social media and digital technologies are your friends.
Create an online space where your community can congregate.
While most teams/squads have their own Messenger/TeamApp/WhatsApp groups, we wanted to create a space where the entire community could meet. After the shutdown, one of the first things we did at the Falcons was create a visible Facebook group and linked it to our official page.
It has become a place to share photos, training tips, and general information about how to cope with the current situation. Some of the highlights include ‘post your injury photos’ and an aerobics class video made by our under 18s.
Create online events.
It’s no substitute for training or games, but it’s a way to come together for a specific purpose.
Last week, on what would have been a regular training night, the Falcon’s senior coach hosted a footy trivia night via Zoom. It was a great way to connect with everyone and was also a nice distraction from the difficult circumstances we find ourselves in. Sadly, I finished runner-up in a tie-break.
Set a challenge
Most people who play community sports are quite competitive on some level, so setting a task or challenge is a great way to feed that competitiveness.
This could be anything from goalkicking challenges to fitness challenges but the point is to keep it regular and post updates and leaderboards. Keeping your community engaged and supporting each other’s achievements is the name of the game here.
So, these are just a few ideas. We here at Siren want to know what your club is doing. Let us know and we’ll share it through our Community Corner.
And finally; know your role, play your role, wash your hands and PLEASE, PLEASE STAY HOME so we can all get back to our clubs sooner.