Story & photo Eve Jeffery
A lone figure kicking around a football in the rain.
Shoot for goal – hit. Shoot for goal – hit. Shoot for goal – hit. Shoot for goal – miss. Run and get the ball, which has sailed metres past the net. Shoot for goal – hit.
This is how I found 13-year-old Bailey Phillips, the captain of last year’s premiership -winning team, the Shores United Grade 13 Second Division North who won their Grand Final against Ballina and with a tally of 119 goals for the year. This team scored more goals than any other team in the association.
It had been a long hard road for the United boys. Some of them, including Bailey, have been playing together on the team since they all signed on together when they were six.
Bailey has been playing with the club for seven years and he really loves his football and is ready and raring for the 2014 season.
Any activity that children can do as a group, including team sports, is the glue that forms friendships that can last forever. Learning to rely on your buddy on the footy field, a study group, the netball court, a band in the garage, when times get tough, when life goes sour and when you celebrate your joy, is a great part of the human condition and should be explored by everyone.
Kids love to be a part of something. If sport is their thing, sign them up.