Many youngsters spend their childhood dreaming of playing footy on TV and hearing the commentators shout their name as they race towards the try line.
For some lucky junior footballers at De La Salle in Caringbah, that dream has become a reality.
The De La Salle Junior Rugby League Football Club is now livestreaming their home matches for teams from the under 8’s and up, with special commentary from former NRL players Joel Caine and Jimmy Smith.
The streaming partnership with BarTV allows those parents, grandparents, siblings and extended family impacted by the NSW Government’s one spectator rule to watch the match from home.
Club president Dave Nicholson said he had wanted to implement streaming for a while, and COVID had offered the perfect reason to start.
“We felt now was the right time to try this, during what has been a fairly rough time for everyone, particularly the kids who have been waiting to play footy all year,” he said.
“We know that there will be times some parents and relatives won’t be able to attend matches or don’t feel comfortable attending matches, so why not take their son or daughter’s game to them?”
The first live-streamed round on Saturday 18 July was a huge success, with family and friends from all over the world grateful for the opportunity to see the kids in action.
“The reaction was fantastic,” said Mr Nicholson.
“We had people from all over telling us how good it was, some even watching from New York.”
The Club sees the streaming having positive impacts beyond the pandemic crisis, with hopes it will keep players and spectators on their best behavior during matches.
“Although there have been no incidents with behaviour at the club, staying on your best behaviour and not allowing emotion to take over is a lesson they hope will flow over into everyday life,” he said.
“Ultimately we’ve done this because we want to give everyone an opportunity to continue to support their child but given the fact that every game is being filmed, I think you’ll see players on the field and parents off it will be making sure their behaviour is also in check.”
De La Salle JRLFC has a rich past, named after French saint and priest Jean-Baptiste De La Salle. Though the club is now run independently, it shares historic links to the De La Salle Catholic College in Caringbah and the De La Salle brothers who used to run it.
De La Salle was a pioneer in education, establishing schools for boys in the 16th Century, forming the Brothers of the Christian Schools, inspiring others on how to teach and care for young people, how to meet failure and frailty with compassion, how to affirm, strengthen and heal. Principles that can be found in La Sallian schools the world over, and which are still present in the footy club that bears his name today.