Issue 48 : 9 February 2020

Talofa Lava, Kia Orana, Malo E Leilei, Tena Koutou, Hello ...

... and welcome to the latest issue of “For The Love Of The Game”, the official e-zine of the New Zealand Amateur Sport Association Inc. We hope you enjoy reading the articles below. If you have any feedback on this issue, ideas for future articles, or would like to contact the Editor, please click here. And, you are invited to forward the e-zine to others you know, who may be interested in reading it.

If you are interested in applying for membership of the Association, please click here.

Oval Hoops’ Successful Stokes Valley Launch ...

The inaugural Oval Hoops programme held at Stokes Valley Rugby Club on 29 January was a great success, with nearly 40 local children turning out for some basketball and rugby “fun in the summer sun”. All enjoyed action on the rugby field and basketball court, topped off with a sausage sizzle and some generous giveaways from the Wellington City Mission and Wellington Rugby. The Association’s Will Caccia-Birch said “it was a great way to to kick-start the year and provide an inclusive experience for our community youth.”

The Oval Hoops initiative, which is a collaboration between Wellington Rugby, Capital Basketball, Wellington City Mission and the Association is a new way of developing cross-code connections, utilising available local community resources, to foster a "love of the game" without the disruption and cost of travel to and from more distant sporting hubs. The Association believes that keeping tamariki involved in organised sport "in their own back-yard" has enormous benefits for families and the wider community.

NCSC Otago Seminar Confirmed ...

With the support of Sport Otago, the second of the Association’s southern seminars based on the 2019 National Sport Club Survey (NSCS) will take place on Tuesday, 3 March 2020 at the Sargood Centre, 40 Logan Park Drive in Dunedin, between 7.00pm and 9.00pm.

Representatives from more than 750 clubs across 75 sports from all corners of NZ participated in the survey, is a collaboration between the Association and the Sports Performance Research Institute New Zealand (SPRINZ) at AUT. To register your interest in attending, please click here.

Community Club Hosts National Tournament ...

One of Wellington’s most community-focused sports clubs hosted the National Club Rugby Sevens for the "Middlesex Cup" this past week, with 14 teams from Clubs around the country arriving in Porirua to play at Northern United’s home ground, Jerry Collins Stadium.

The tournament was started in Dunedin in 1951 and first won by local club Zingari-Richmond. In 68 years of competition, it has been held by 28 individual winners, with the 2020 Tournament won by Ardmore-Marist from Papakura, in Auckland. The Northern United Club relied on volunteers to make the Tournament happen and although their team was unable to defend the title they won in 2019, the Club created a memorable experience for all participants.

Viewpoint : “Elite” Focus Turns Teenagers Away From Sport ...

In today’s world, where numerous surveys are highlighting the accelerating drop-out rate of teenagers from sport and where social-media can become an unhealthy mirror for measuring self-esteem, it seems likely that many teenagers’ perception of their sporting ability is closely entwined with their perceived (and in some cases, actual) social status. One hypothesis is that teenagers who are not tagged as “elite” sportspeople decide to opt-out of the sport they love to play, once they perceive that they are less competent than their peers who are selected for high-performance development.

In support of this hypothesis (and highlighting the benefit of removing the unhelpful sporting-industry constructs of “elite” and “all others”), a 2006 Massey University study ("The Effects Of Sports Participation On Young Adolescents' Emotional Well-Being"), found that adolescents “with increased perceptions of sport-related competencies reported significantly fewer emotional and behavioural problems than did children who were actually competent at sport.”

In particular, the study noted that “sports educators need to become aware of the importance of self-perceptions. The assumption from the present study is that if youth’s self-perceptions of athletic competence can be enhanced, then not only will more participate in sport and for a longer period, but they may be more likely to have improved emotional well-being.”

It sounds too simple?

Table Tennis Veteran Inspired By His Love For The Game ...

From Colombo in Sri Lanka, 79 year old Dr Gerard (Nimal) Lucas is a regular competitor at the annual New Zealand Masters Games, which this year were held in Dunedin, (over the past week). Lucas attended his first Masters Games in New Zealand, in 2007, two years following his international debut as a veteran player.

(Dr. Gerard Lucas, Gold Medal winner at the 2020 New Zealand Masters Games)

A retired paediatrician, Lucas is a former National Table Tennis Champion of Sri Lanka and was Captain of the Sri Lanka Table Tennis team from 1966 to 1971, amassing over 50 medals in his international career to date. A former Chairman of the National Table Tennis Selection Committee of Sri Lanka, Lucas notes when reflecting on the sport of Table Tennis and his ongoing participation as a veteran national representative, “the problem is finance. We have to spend our own money. There are no sponsors.'' For the record, in Dunedin this past week, Gerard won the Over 75 Men’s Singles and was placed second in the Men’s Doubles for both the Over 70 and Over 75 age groups.

The International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF), founded in 1926, is the world-governing body of the sport of table tennis with 226 member Associations in the world, including New Zealand.

"United Glasgow" Unites A Community ...

Since its formation in 2011 under the motto “unity in the community”, United Glasgow FC has welcomed players from over 50 countries and currently makes association football accessible and affordable to around 200 players. The Club promotes community inclusivity, with players of all genders, sexual orientations, religions, ethnicities, socio-economic positions and immigration statuses, all “United” by their love for the game.

The Club was originally set up for refugees and asylum seekers with the intention of providing free access to football equipment, pitches and all the support they needed to assimilate into Glaswegian life. The Club fosters an environment in which the players forget about their backgrounds, so don't ask about their pasts or even hold much in the way of personal details, while also promoting and defending the rights of ethnic minorities and the LGBT community within Scotland.

Ruiradh MacFarlane, the Club’s football coordinator notes that "money is always a problem. I think the grassroots game could do with a cascade of money to it to help projects such as our own to accelerate and to continue doing the great work."

Pope Identifies “The Soul Of The Game” ...

Recently acknowledging the educational and formational work of the Italy's National Amateur League for football (the “Lega Nazionale Dilettanti”, in which players are not permitted to sign professional contracts), Pope Francis observed that success in sport requires not only natural ability, but also “training and determination, great patience, the ability to accept defeat, team spirit and the ability to collaborate with others, as well as the capacity to be joyful and happy”.

Pope Francis explained that the Italian word for amateur – “dilettante” – means “one who takes delight”. (The etymology of the English word “amateur”, which comes from the Latin “amator”, or lover, is similar). "You amateurs must always remember, even if you one day become professionals, that joy is the soul of the game”, the Pope said. He warned that if the need to win, or contempt for their opponents makes them lose their joy, “it means you’ve stopped playing, and you’ve abandoned that healthy competitiveness” which is the most “authentic spirit” of sport.

From The Archives ...

Sport in the Wairarapa


“In the year 1902, table tennis (ping pong it was then called), was all the craze in Masterton. A tournament was held and attended by hundreds of spectators nightly, so keen was the interest taken in the game. Naturally, the game has improved considerably during the past 36 years, and for the past few seasons the game has revived, and many clubs have been formed.

In the tournament, above referred to, there was not so far as I can remember, any champion fixtures, but only handicaps. The ladies’ handicap was won by Miss Payton, who beat Miss Cope in the final. The men’s handicap was won by C. C. Cox, who beat C. Perry in the final. As practical proof of the keen interest then taken in the game, I might mention that the men’s final was played at 1.30 o’clock in the morning, and was witnessed by over 100 spectators.”

At the turn of last century, a retired Cambridge athlete named James W. Gibb was credited with having created the game of “Ping Pong” one evening using champagne corks and the lids of cigar boxes, (a narrative worthy of the escapades of "Jeeves & Wooster"!)

New Zealand was an early adopter of the game, with regional Lawn Tennis Associations becoming responsible for its governance in the game’s early years. The Wellington Provincial Lawn Tennis Association adopted the game, with George Hurley appointed the chair of the committee which was responsible for the first "Wellington Ping Pong Championship", held in March 1902, won by William Honey, who had also earlier won the Christchurch championship. Miss Jackson was the lady’s champion. As pictured above, the Cycling Club defeated Victoria College (University) by 180 points to 116 in the Team Final. The name “Ping Pong” remained in widespread use for around 30 years. Today, Table Tennis New Zealand (which was incorporated in 1950) is the governing body for regional associations in 18 locations throughout New Zealand.

The Final Word ...

“The true meaning of life is to plant trees under whose shade you do not expect to sit.”

(Nelson Henderson)

© New Zealand Amateur Sport Association Inc. (2669211), 2017

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P O Box 582, Wellington, 6140

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