Last sports club standing? | RNZ News

The upholstery is fading and members are ageing at sports clubs across New Zealand and some are only just holding the seams together.

The Newlands-Paparangi Tennis Club in Wellington is one of a number of clubs in New Zealand feeling the strain of declining memberships.

Photo: RNZ / Bridget Tunnicliffe

A survey of sports clubs in New Zealand has revealed nearly two-thirds of them are either losing money or breaking-even.

And in the New Zealand Amateur Sport Association’s inaugural national survey of clubs, 22 percent of respondents said their memberships had fallen over the past five years.

Statistics like that come as no surprise to Barry Teale, the club captain at Wellington’s Newlands-Paparangi Tennis Club.

That’s been their reality for a few years now but they keep going thanks to a few volunteers who go about their jobs with minimum fuss.

Lyn McAnulty is on the committee and has been at the club for 20 odd years and still plays as much as she can.

Lyn who is also a past president is the type who will check the smoke alarms or run the vacuum around before a committee meeting.

Lyn McAnulty running the vacuum before a committee meeting.
Photo: RNZ / Bridget Tunnicliffe

The last one-club man?

Barry Teale has been involved in the club for 40 years and said it had given him a lot.

“I’ve just made a huge number of friends at the club, they’ve become my personal friends over the years and so we’ve just stayed together …it’s become a habit it I suppose.”

But it’s not like it used to be.

Barry Teale is the club captain at Newlands-Paparangi Tennis Club in Wellington and has been with the club for 40 years.
Photo: RNZ / Bridget Tunnicliffe

When Barry started 40 years ago they had 68 seniors – now the have just nine.

“There’s a huge number of clubs struggling, some of the big power clubs like Khandallah and Thorndon have a lot of people and a lot of people congregate there and because they’ve got that critical mass of people playing it’s quite a good place to go and play …the smaller clubs tend to struggle and die.

“Over the summer months you could come down here between now and February and fire a machine gun and hit no one, there won’t be anybody playing. There might be one or two or four people of our nine seniors, maybe four of them will get together and come and have a hit once a week …but this place is terribly unused.

“It’s just the way of the world and the way people live now, they don’t go into clubs and there’s just so much to do, there’s a thousand entertainment options opposed to playing tennis including your own phone.”

The club has a strong junior programme but the young ones seem to disappear as soon as they leave school.

So where do all the juniors go?

“If we had an answer we might be able to solve it.”

“There is no one that plays in this club between the age of 17 and 30 and it has been that way for the last five years, maybe longer. Kids just have so many more other things to do. I don’t think tennis is seen as cool anymore, they’ve got their phones, a lot of them are working in the weekends. They just disappear and then they have a family and then we never see them again, sometimes until they’re 40 and then they come back and play.”

Newlands-Paparangi Tennis Club in Wellington has just nine senior members.
Photo: RNZ / Bridget Tunnicliffe

How have they managed to survive to this point?

“We’ve been managed fantastically by treasurers over the years who’ve been really really good and very frugal and putting money away in the good times and we survive a huge amount on pokie grants who pay for an awful lot of our coaching and expenses.”

Clubs are increasingly having to think outside the box and join forces with other sports.

“About seven-eight years ago we had to make a deal with hockey so that hockey run this place for six months and we run it for the other six because we couldn’t afford to foot the bills for a full year, otherwise we would have gone bust long ago.”

Barry remembers the halcyon days of club life in the 70s, 80s and early 90s when people used to form a social life around sports clubs.

They used to have a bar but had to give it up when the rules and regulations became too much and they had to have a licensed bar manager.

“A number of people in the local area used to come down and drink on a Sunday and we used to have quite long drinking and playing sessions. But I think the world’s changed a bit as well, people don’t have that free time on a Sunday to come and congregate.”

“I do miss the people and the socialising.”

How much longer can the club survive?

“Not long, the people running it are people such as me, who are well over 60 and a number of other people and when we go the club will fold.”

Never too late

Matt Easton turned up to the club about two months ago for a casual hit.

The 28-year-old played a bit of cricket, soccer and touch rugby at school but never really played tennis before.

He thought he would give tennis a go as a way to keep fit over summer.

“The thing I was a bit nervous about was thinking that everyone was going to be a super star really and I showed up and it’s great to see people of different abilities and stuff and I’ve fitted right in.”

He said he was missing the competitive aspect of sport.

“I get out and I run and do that sort of thing and go to the gym but you can’t really beat competitive sport when you’ve got opposition, yeah I think I had been missing that.”

Paula Pollock started playing tennis three years ago after taking time out to raise her kids.

“I wanted to play sport, I’d been going to the gym but I’ve been at home raising the kids for the past 10 or 12 years and I wasn’t working and I wanted a way of meeting people and just socialising and so tennis seemed like a good way to do it as well as trying to keep fit.

“I find a gym quite an independent kind of activity and more so I don’t have someone I go to the gym with so it’s not the right environment to meet people, I go at all different times of the day.”

Paula Pollock getting ready for a serve from Jon Nanson – both are on the Newlands-Paparangi Tennis Club committee.
Photo: RNZ / Bridget Tunnicliffe

Paula joined the committee this year.

“I’ve got to know everyone really well over the last couple of years and it’s a really good way to pay it back and get to know people a bit better.”

She said she had noticed a lack of adults playing tennis.

“I’ve been playing inter-club tennis and it’s something that you can see across every club. I don’t think people take the time to get involved in sport so much, they get their kids involved but don’t seem to find the time as adults. A lot of the club members are either the juniors or they’re in their 50s, 60s, and 70s – they are still really active and quite competitive senior players so they’ve been active in the club for a long time.”

She said they had done quite a lot of work to try to attract new players.

“I definitely think it’s worth having these things in the areas in people’s local communities. I think it’s quite sad seeing the courts getting run down and the buildings really run down and you have probably 10 or 12 people working really hard to keep these places running. I think they add a lot of value to the communities and it would be good to see them keep going.”

Jon Nanson is in his second year on the committee.

He’s been a part of club four about six years. Before that he had only just mucked around as a kid after school with friends playing tennis.

But he missed sport.

“I’d always done a bit but tennis was something I thought would be interesting to have another go at because I always liked it but just never really given it a good go.”

“I think a lot of clubs have quite a few juniors but a lot of clubs like us probably struggle with the seniors.”

He said socially it was nice to get out and do something and getting around the court with people was good fun.

“Just give it a go, come along have a try, if you like it great, if you don’t you haven’t missed out on anything but if you don’t give it a try you’re never going to know.”

Sausage Sports Club

The best combination of sports and sausages since Bedale AFC (Google it…)

Sausage Sports Club is an upbeat party title featuring a bunch of sport-loving animals.

But you’re not playing the traditional forms of sports as you would in the likes of football, baseball, bowling and more, a la Wii Sports. Instead, you take part in a bunch of minigames which are loosely themed on the sport in question. Think of it as a sporting equivalent of Mario Party, if you will.

Head around the overworld to find quests which lead to more party game action.

The game’s predominant mode, Adventure, takes on a storyline format which is pretty pleasing. Starting in a small enclosed hub, you’ll need to build up your experience in order to unlock new areas and therefore new sports, but the general overworld gameplay remains largely consistent throughout. You’ll need to talk to one character, before racing over to another character that was mentioned, and ultimately decide to settle their differences by taking to one of the sports.

They all seem to be focused on the same goal too – scoring points by disabling your opponents from the field of play for long enough so that you can target the objective, whether that be scoring goals or collecting coins. ZL handles the dashing, and you’ll be playing a frantic game of sausage dodgems as each play speeds comically back and forth in the hope of possibly tackling the opponent to the doom down a never-ending hole or on a bed of spikes.

Hmm. Yeah, we’re just going to refer to this guy as penis bat.

Yes – there are many serious ways to make use of a sausage, but this game isn’t one of them. The emphasis is placed on the comical, with each character getting the tall sausage treatment and moving the right stick enabling you to wave or even helicopter their head around in cartoonish fashion. Moving the head does have a practical use – striking balls or hitting punch bags for instance – but the sausage look doesn’t have quite the family-friendly look we’re sure the developers were going for, with the bat character in particular looking quite phallic, for some reason.

The rewards for you are new characters, arenas and hats – yeah, it’s not mind-blowing. It’s about minor aesthetic adjustments, and you probably won’t dedicate too much of your time towards collecting them all.

A football match is absolute chaos.

You can jump straight into the sports themselves as part of the Quick Play options on the game’s main menu. But the Adventure mode is where the real fun is at. The game is quite charming and isn’t written too childishly, helpfully widening up its audience. Jokes which will go over younger players’ heads are a great touch, especially when there’s nothing dirty here as far as things which would be totally unsuitable for young kids to play. It strikes a balance between audiences, then, and that’s always helpful for a party title.

With “soccer” matches, capture the flag, sumo, paintball and coin battles, there’s a small amount of gameplay variation in terms of what goes on within the sports themselves. But it’s the personality of Sausage Sports Club which will have players remembering it a few months down the line. The games doesn’t take itself seriously, nor does it need to – it carves a likable first impression, which puts it above some of the poorer party titles even if gameplay wise it’s nothing too spectacular.

Sausage Sports Club

Sausage Sports Club is an enjoyable party title with bags of humour. It’s a little silly, but you should get some enjoyment here.

Royal Aero Sports Club

If you are at all interested in aviation activities, one of your stops in Aqaba should definitely be the Royal Aero Sports Club, a curious non-profit organisation that was founded by King Abdullah II Ibn Al Hussein of Jordan after he managed to experience the delights of aero sport himself and saw that it would be a fine addition to Jordan’s tourism activities roster. The current president of the club is the Prince Hamzah, which holds up its original status as a “royal” club, although anyone is free to try out the activities the club is offering, provided you pay the fairly reasonable fees.

Experience flying at Royal Aero Sports Club

The Royal Aero Sports Club offers such activities as hot air ballooning, microlight flying, and ultralight flying (you have a choice here of either a Savannah or a Remos G3). Of these, perhaps the most popular among tourists is the hot air balloon option. The trip usually takes you over the gorgeous stretch of desert and dunes known as Wadi Rum, and the most common time for its commencement would be very early in the morning, in order to provide for the heat of Aqaba. In the early morning, the evening’s cool is still present, which makes the ride far more pleasant for passengers. Furthermore, the time permits the passengers to see the glorious sunrise on the desert’s horizon, which usually prompts a flurry of photographic activity from tourists. If you do decide to take the hot air balloon option, you may have to calculate double the time in allocation for your schedule, since a one-hour flight can often take two hours due to the drive towards and back from the lift-off and touchdown sites.

(Here is a little tip, by the way: do not fall asleep on the drive to the site. The drive itself is often through the most picturesque parts of Wadi Rum, so it would be a shame to miss such a ready opportunity for seeing the beauty of the desert. Provided there is already enough light during the drive, you should see some lovely vistas of the area, and you should get your camera ready if you want photos of the desert at its best.)

Children are allowed on the hot air balloon ride, but they have to be older than 5 years old. Things may get a bit more complicated when it comes to permissions for the microlight and ultralight flights. The Royal Aero Sports Club should be the one to arrange permission so that you can fly and will require certain documents such as your passport. Note that the club has a website that you can access to find out more about them at http://www.royalaerosports.com/site/. Another tip that might be of use to you here is to have your agent get in touch with them by phone or do it yourself if you are already in Jordan: trying to get in touch with the staff at the club through email may sometimes take a while. Look for their contact numbers and details on the provided site.

Sarah Cruz

Marketing Lead and Blogger at Cush Travel

Sarah loves traveling the world. She started with a simple domestic trip and the rest was history, including her savings. She has been living around South East Asia for the past years and another continent looks to be her next destination.

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Child Sexual abuse scandal rocks Argentinian Game — RT Sport News

The scandal came to light in the end of March, once a 17-year-old player of top Argentinian football team Independiente informed the team’s physiologist that he and another teammate was sexually abused and had had sex with men in exchange for money.

The boy said that young athletes had been included in a prostitution ring arranged by a club member.

On Monday, a doctor and a psychologist working in Buenos Aires-based River Plate informed the Argentinian government that young footballers and volleyball players in the club were victims of sexual abuse.

River Plate and Independiente will be the two biggest clubs in the nation, and attract talented youngsters from throughout Argentina and overseas. River have won 36 national football league names, while Independiente have won the Copa Libertadores (South America’s equivalent of the UEFA Champions League) a record seven times. Both multi-sport giants have lodging for pupils who live and train in the sport foundations.

Many kids recruited by the nightclubs come from the country’s poorest places, and live far from their families under the oversight of the sport clubs.

The president of the Football Association’s childhood and children’s poll, Dante Majori, demanded a thorough investigation in the aftermath of the information which has rocked the nation.

“We need this to be investigated,” he said. “We want to give regulations so that those responsible for these abhorrent acts are caught.”

“We’ve put out to update and carry out a protocol to govern these boarding houses,” he included.

Maria Soledad Garibaldi, the prosecutor investigating the case, said on Wednesday that seven kids at Independiente were included in the prostitute chain, while 10 longer minors could have been potential victims.

She added that the 19-year-old who had forced his fellow sportsmen into prostitution is now cooperating with authorities.

“Many kids were contacted but they did not collapse [victim]. We are investigating this. Thank God these acts weren’t carried out,” Garibaldi said in a news conference. “We are all combined here — the kids, the parents, and the law”

Some of Argentina’s most powerful sports clubs have been implicated in a child abuse scandal following reports surfaced claiming that young players supposedly suffered systematic sexual abuse when residing at the nightclubs’ boarding houses.