And here I was thinking I would be preparing a report on the many successful tournaments we had fun playing in 2020 and the numbers of new players and clubs taking on our sport.
Then Covid 19 happened. Although we had less time on the court we all had more time for contemplation and reflection. What different effects Covid has had on our NSW/ACT clubs. Some members have avoided playing, others play with caution and, especially at Canberra Croquet Club, members play more than ever because they have not been able to travel to warmer climes.
Palmerston North in NZ was the sole tournament for many players in our region where teams entered from Victoria and Queensland.
I congratulate the Strathfield gateballers for keeping the game alive in the Sydney region. The regular Sundays have gradually increased in numbers and you have been a beacon of hope for gateball in Sydney’s west and beyond.
At the Canberra Croquet Club numbers have surpassed previous years with new players recruited for the Tavender Trophy. We have 2 painted lawns and our two youngest recruits are slowly learning the complexities of maintaining a scoreboard while not distracting their parents.
Gateball has such a small membership in Australia. It cannot afford to be precious about itself. And it cannot be precious about disputes with referee decisions, the standard of referee competency or when and where tournaments may happen.
We all know it requires effort to initiate any change (like introducing a new discipline), we also know there will always be critics. These people are usually those who rely on the drive and enthusiasm of others. However all the drive and enthusiasm for something new like gateball will never be successful if there is no support from the Club, particularly their committee members. Eventually these drivers of change, these change champions, get tired and this is the time for someone else to stand up and take the rudder.
Succession planning has never been a great feature of clubs and croquet clubs are no exception. I encourage all gateball players to use the remainder of 2020 to contemplate the future of our game in Australia. Consider who organises the game at your club, could you do more to assist and do you contribute enthusiasm?
Twin Cities Croquet Club in Albury is one such club that has put in strategies to encourage our game.
Next week Andrew Davies and I will be at this club to coach 12 new enthusiasts. They already have six players planning to be at the Nationals in September. Good on them!
I wish all Sparkers a very happy holiday time and loads of enthusiasm for our many tournaments planned for 2021.
Judy Tier – State Director, NSW Gateball