Why live sport is always a good idea

This article was written by Melissa Muscat – Parramatta Eels Members Councillor and Parramatta Eels member.

Merry Christmas to all who celebrate and Happy Holidays to those who don’t. Hopefully everyone had a feast of food and family or friend gatherings. Now that the festivities and silly season are starting to subside, we finally have time to think about other things including relaxation, school holidays and sport. We live in a wonderful part of the world, Sydney Australia, but isn’t it such a busy place? So much going on all of the time, spoilt for choice, working hard and almost always pressed for time…which may be the reason many fans have been missing from live sporting fixtures in recent times.

Make no mistake, as Sydneysiders and Aussies, we love our sport. ‘You Gotta Have a Team’ is the A League campaign and is so true in most households. In Sydney, more so, I believe, with our NRL teams…don’t we love a game of footy…even if we aren’t completely into the game itself…almost everyone in Sydney ‘has a team’ and enjoys the rivalry with someone they know. The A League has definitely gained momentum with the local derby between Sydney FC and Western Sydney Wanderers drawing up to 65 000 spectators last season. The most recent Socceroos match also attracting almost 80 000 fans in November. The Matildas have put Australia on the map with their current world ranking of fourth…FOURTH in the world!…placing them ahead of soccer phenomenons Brazil. What an effort!! But given these successes our support of live sporting games has been inconsistent. I feel this is unfortunate given how much we love our sport here in Australia and if we want to continue seeing our country succeed we can’t become complacent. It isn’t enough to simply watch every game on TV.

These sporting triumphs alone confirm we should all be getting out to live games to cheer on our teams more regularly. There are many factors why people don’t and I’m going to discuss what I believe are the main ones and why we should overcome these small obstacles for the benefit of continued sporting success in our country. A significant factor is cost. We must remember though that everything we do in Sydney costs quite a bit of money. As beautiful as this city is, it isn’t the cheapest place in the world to live in. Recently though there have been many wonderful incentives that the NRL and A League have offered members and fans. Sydney FC are currently offering two free children tickets with every adult member. Perfect timing in the school holidays where kids are often looking to be entertained and parents are running out of ideas. The offer is for this Saturday night (30th December) and next Wednesday (3rd January). That is an approximate $100 saving on entertainment and one night less parents need to be creative. I personally don’t have children but I know there will be many relatives who are parents happy to lend me babysitting duties whilst they’re struggling to entertain their young ones over the six week period.

Parramatta Eels and the NRL have recently released an offer of $40 family tickets for a double header including Souths, Cronulla and Manly in March. Four iconic Sydney teams providing four hours of entertainment for a very small amount. A similar promo is offered each year on Easter Monday for the Eels and Tigers match at ANZ Stadium. That is wonderful value for money and another form of entertainment that will see the kids occupied for a decent period of time. Many of the stadiums also offering free public transport and discounted parking to members. With many games kicking off not before 7.30pm, families can also eat at a venue of their choice before, not limited to purchasing stadium food.

Understandably it isn’t just the money factor in Sydney though, it’s time also. This is where I struggle being a High School Teacher, Sports Writer, Eels Members Councillor, St Vincent De Paul Night Patrol Volunteer, socialite and avid sports fan. I still make a huge effort to attend at least one live sporting event a week to support my teams, albeit a little tired. In a city where people are really working hard to make ends meet, sometimes two jobs to realise the great Aussie dream of owning a home, catching up with friends in between and attending their own children’s sporting fixtures, the weekend doesn’t leave a great amount of spare time. That is a known fact. We are also spoilt for choice with various sporting codes on at the same time, social gatherings, concerts/theatre/musicals/stand up comedy which we are fortunate enough to be able to attend in this very happening city of ours.

But here is my main point. Live sport is always a good idea. Try and make a conscious effort to attend one game a week or at least a fortnight to support your main team. It gives everyone of all ages an opportunity to watch some of the best athletes in our country and abroad, in our own backyard. it allows us to experience passion for our sporting teams, enables us a social catch up with friends and like minded people. Importantly it gives our younger generation future goals and ambitions which is so important. It teaches them resilience especially when their teams aren’t always winning. Children and teenagers look up to their sporting icons and this encourages them to aspire to something greater. It gets young people off the couch, away from TV and temporarily away from computer games they are so heavily influenced by today. it also encourages them to socialise and meet people of similar interests which is a great distraction and keeps them focused and out of trouble.

These are all good enough reasons to motivate us to get out to the games and take a young person with us even when we are a little tired and pushed for time. Over the next week, take advantage of the promo of children attending free A League matches during the school holidays. It will cure some of their boredom and hopefully inspire the next generation of athletes to work harder to achieve some sporting goals. It will also see us have a wonderful future national team to support in Football, Rugby League, Cricket, Netball or the multitude of sporting codes we are lucky enough to be able to support in our beautiful country.