Tuesday, June 15, 2010

A note on loss of the young and country sport

NSW Women's State Hockey Championships records my reactions to visiting Bathurst to watch Clare (youngest) play her first game of representative hockey.

One issue that I recorded in that post is the impact on women's hockey in the country of the loss of young people. It's not just the question of overall loss. It's also the impact of the loss of young people to university study at critical age ranges. This is already a significant issue, but will become more so if Government targets for the percentage of young attending university are achieved.

The problem is not limited just to country areas traditionally defined, but applies to all centres where university study requires kids to leave home to go to another place.

I am not saying that we should stop kids going to university. Far from it. I am saying that we should recognise the community impacts involves.

Hockey NSW's answer appears to lie in part in changing the rules so that kids who go away and play for another team in their new locale should still be eligible for representative selection in teams from their home area should they chose. This strikes me as a good idea, but I wonder what else might be done?

    I don't have a clear view here. I am just posting so that the question is on the record.


Greg said...

Loss of home grown talent - whether sporting or otherwise, has always been an issue for regional areas. It's a good idea to allow kids to continue representing their home district when they move away, if they choose to do so.

Even better would be to encourage those kids to move back when their university or training time is over. But that would need local employment and economic opportunities.

I don't mean to always push the new state barrow - but economic and employment opportunities would benefit greatly from this. With statehood other things would follow - public service jobs, contractor jobs, regional head and branch office jobs and so on. Inevitably, people gravitate to places where there are opportunities.

It wouldn't prevent the drift to Sydney and Melbourne altogether, but it would give kids another opportunity to stay or return, if that is what they want.

Jim Belshaw said...

I agree with you, of course, Greg. However, there is also a problem that people may not want to come back or move even when the jobs are there. This is a demographic issue linked to length of training combined with two career families.

Did you see the Vics have launched a new decentralisation approach?

Greg said...

You'll have to enlighten me about that Jim.

Jim Belshaw said...

Post now up, Greg.